Norwood’s Rabbi Stanley Coten highlights importance of synagogues being accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities

14 November 2018

At a Finchley United Synagogue ‘lunch and learn’ session, Norwood’s Rabbi Stanley Coten highlighted the importance of synagogues providing an accessible and inclusive experience for people with disabilities.

While synagogues and the Jewish community as a whole are very accepting of people with disabilities, Norwood is always ready to share its expertise on how we can ensure every member of the community is treated as an equal.

Rabbi Stanley said: “People with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities often look for accessibility information in advance, as they decide whether to come to a synagogue or attend an event.

“Making this information easily available saves them time – and communicates clearly that you welcome their presence.”

He added: “We know from our experience of Norwood’s services, that when you consider the needs of someone with a disability, you need to consider the needs of the whole family. If we don’t offer the right support, they can feel isolated, even rejected. Synagogues are important for helping both the person and the family feel part of the community.”

Of the 1.5 million people living with learning disabilities in the UK, around 5,500 of them are Jewish. Rabbi Stanley listed other various ways in which synagogues can ensure they are inclusive for people with learning disabilities, such as offering inclusive education, holding social activities, making music a core part of worship, and making sure the building is fully wheelchair accessible.

Norwood helps people with learning disabilities and autism live the most active, inclusive lives possible. The charity currently supports 229 adults through its accommodation services across London and Berkshire. Among these is the Tager Centre, home to 16 people on the autistic spectrum, which achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission in May 2018.

– ENDS –


Notes for editors

Further information

For further information please contact Norwood press team:

By email:

By phone: 020 8420 6866 or 07736 458532

More images are available upon request


About Norwood

 Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities and autism.

Norwood supports over 4,000 people every year, giving them the tools they need to live the most fulfilling lives they can.

Norwood works with 56 local authorities, delivering wide-ranging services in a variety of residential accommodation and supported living services, short-break facilities and family centres across London and the South East.

Through a workforce of over 2,500 – made up of 1,250 staff and 1,500 volunteers – we provide the highest-quality care to transform the lives of children and their families, and vulnerable adults.

It costs £34m a year to deliver Norwood’s services, £12m of which must be raised from voluntary donations.