History of Scope

Our first 60 years as a disability charity

We've been working with disabled people and their families for over 60 years. Here are some of the key landmarks in our history:

1952 – birth of Scope

The National Spastics Society (the original name of Scope) is founded by three parents and a social worker who want disabled children to have equal rights to an education.

1955 – first school

Craig y Parc School opens in Cardiff with a waiting list for children who had previously no right to be educated. Today our specialist schools teach children whose needs are currently not met elsewhere.

1957 – employment

Our first employment officer, Bill Hargreaves, supports hundreds of disabled people to find their first jobs.

1960 – first film on TV

Every Eight Hours, narrated by Richard Dimbleby, is broadcast on national TV. The title refers to the fact that every eight hours a child with cerebral palsy is born in the UK.

1970 – our first charity shop

We open our first charity shop in Sevenoaks, Kent. We now have nearly 250 shops.

1977 – further education

Beaumont College, our further education college for disabled 16-19 year olds, opens.

1990 – helpline

Our helpline launches to provide free information and support to disabled people and their families.

1994 – The Spastics Society becomes Scope

Read our booklet, The Spastics Society to Scope, on why we changed our name.

2002 – 50th anniversary

Changing Society is published, featuring interviews with 17 individuals on our history.

2006 – oral history of people with cerebral palsy

Speaking for Ourselves teaching pack sent to secondary schools.

2008 – merger with DIAL UK

Scope merges with Disability Information and Advice Lines to create a national advice and information network for disabled people.

2012 - Scope’s 60th anniversary

We celebrated our 60th anniversary in 2012 and launched a campaign to share stories by disabled people and their families about what they wanted to be possible in the next few years.

2014 - Improving attitudes

Scope took the decision to change its name in 1994 because the word 'spastic' had become a common term of abuse for disabled people.

Twenty years later Scope is once again tackling public attitudes to disability with the End the Awkward campaign, which uses comedy to highlight the awkwardness that many people feel when they are around disabled people.

Historic moments

Ben Elton Scope name change

See some more blasts from the past 60 years on our Pinterest board

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Historic moments on Pinterest