Outlook Issue 20 Winter 2015
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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Educating the whole person
10 Anyone who has met Simmy will be affected by her cheeriness and ‘can do’ attitude, from academic work to swimming, singing, walking, music and taking the collection at St Mary’s. This pragmatic, take-me-as-you-find-me person has been coming to church for over 10 years, first with her Mum after moving to Woodbridge from London, and then on her own. ‘I started at a church school in London and really enjoyed taking part. My faith helps me to find a reason for most things, including my disability which is a challenge. I feel is meant to be there.’ This, despite numerous operations on her limbs and a visual impairment which makes it harder to cross the road and recognise people. She also had to cope with a ‘glue ear’ when she was young which made her deaf for the first two years of her life. Simmy benefits from a loving and supportive family. ‘My parents have always been truthful about how disability affects me and I think that helps a lot. And I always try to participate in sports, and took part in sports day at school.’ As a budding Sociologist – she wants to teach the subject after university – Simmy is fascinated by people. ‘I like to see how different groups of people interact, including with someone who has a disability. ‘ The tenacity of Simmy and her family has been tested in trying to ensure adequate adjustments to her accommodation at UCS. ‘It’s been a long, slow and painful process,’ she says ‘but we are going to end up with enough for me to manage.’ She will also be helped by two assistants and by UCS as part of her studies and life around campus. ‘I am going to need ongoing support all my life but it’s more difficult after the age of 18,’ she says. ‘There are good charities such as Scope which helps people with disabilities, and 4YP which supports young people in Suffolk. The help is there but you have to look for it.’ NC Educating the whole person A coffee shop in the Thoroughfare on a Wednesday afternoon is a wonderful barometer of Woodbridge education. Last week there were children in the blues, reds and yellow ties of four different schools. Everyone being overdosed on chocolate by a guilty grandparent. As she passed over the change the American waitress advised each of us, ‘Don’t tell their parents’. There was a warmth about it all. Happy young people. The (not very quiet) conversations ranged from football to friendships, from princesses to planets. Minds opening and being opened to the panoply of life’s experience. Between the chocolate brownies. Have tea in Sloane Square (I have done it only once)