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Bishop's Advisor for Disability: Sue Nelms

Sue tells us more about her background and journey to her role as a Bishop's Advisor for Disability

The Diocese of Ely is working to ensure that everyone can worship and minister to their full potential, whether disabled or not. We always welcome feedback and input from people who see ways that we can improve. You can get in touch with Sue on

I have been a carer in one form or another since I was 10 but that doesn't mean that I have all of the answers and I am always ready to learn. At the moment I care for my husband, who has Motor Neurone Disease and is a wheelchair user. This has opened my eyes to all sorts of challenges faced by people with both visible and invisible disabilities.

I enjoy enabling people to fulfil their potential. I am a problem solver by nature and enjoy the creativity that finding solutions generates. I am looking forward to people not having to struggle with access and issues that they shouldn't have to.

I would like people to be more open minded and think about the challenges that other people might face. There are ways that we could support people and we need to use them.  The mindset should not be that disabled people are looking for special treatment; rather they are simply looking to enjoy the same opportunities that everyone else enjoys. Better use of technology would allow people to revisit training sessions, events etc, making it easier for ordinands, clergy or other learners with invisible disabilities which might limit the time they can focus on things, to reinforce their learning.

I would love the response to suggestions to be 'let's do it!'.  Our congregations have so much potential but often so many obstacles are put in the way. Our clergy should represent society and today about 20% of society lives with a disability; we need to be more ready to walk (wheel?) in their shoes rather than expecting them to step up and keep up with us. The ultimate goal would be making the role of a Disability Advisor unnecessary!

Page last updated: Monday 2nd October 2023 10:04 AM
First published on: 2nd October 2023
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