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Living the life I choose

We know that if everyday equality for disabled people is to become a reality disabled people need to feel independent, confident and connected. It’s vital that disabled people have a voice and are included.

Yet there are many areas where they aren’t included. For example, when products and services aren’t accessible. It might be a bus without low-floor access. Or a best-selling book without a full-text recording.

With the ‘Purple Pound’ (the spending power of disabled families) increasing every year, it doesn’t make much economic sense either. In 2017 and 2018, disabled families had a collective spending power of £274 billion.

We’re working hard to educate businesses about the importance of accessibility and inclusion. Starting with our own. And we’re making sure disabled people have a voice in everything we do.

Half of all disabled people said they were unable to buy things they wanted because the website or app was inaccessible.

Just 23 per cent of disabled people say they feel valued by society whilst 49 per cent feel excluded.

Having a voice

Everything we do at Scope aims to lead to these outcomes. Every time we put power in the hands of disabled people to make change happen, we are moving closer to a reality of everyday equality.

Putting disabled people at the heart of what we do

We found that when non-disabled people hear our Role Models’ stories and ask them questions, they realise there’s nothing to feel awkward about.

How we're doing

Between 2017 and 2019, our school Role Models programme reached more than 3,000 young people, spreading awareness and changing attitudes.

Building on what we’ve learned, we’re focusing on disabled storytellers and role models in our communications. Disabled storytellers now regularly take over our social media channels, and lead dialogue and discussions on our online community and at Scope events.

Of the school classes visited by our Role Models, 82 per cent reported improved attitudes towards disability.

Scope for Change

Scope for Change is our 6 month training programme for disabled people aged 18 to 25. It gives young activists the tools and confidence they need to plan and run campaigns on issues that matter to them.

How we're doing

Since 2017, we’ve supported 24 young people to deliver campaigns - from creating autism-friendly worship services in churches to raising awareness of hidden disabilities

Engaging communities

We support disabled people to change their local environments for the better.

How we're doing

For example, since 2017, disabled people across south-east England have created accessible beaches and allotments and introduced disability awareness training in local shops.

Learning from the people who know best

We’ve built a panel of over 700 disabled customers, putting them at the heart of our research.

How we're doing

Since 2017, our panel has participated in more than 100 research projects for us and our commercial partners. We’ve also collaborated with more than 200 disabled people on over 40 projects that inform the design of our services and campaigns.

Spotlight on Scope for Change

Since 2017, Scope for Change has supported 24 young people deliver a whole range of campaigns. And we’re thrilled to see our next generation of disability activists coming through. Together, they’ve improved accessibility in schools, campaigned for legal protections for disabled volunteers and raised awareness of the impact of negative language towards disabled people.

But don’t just take our word for it...

The support I’ve received in developing my campaigning skills has been priceless. I’ve gained the confidence to speak about topics which are potentially controversial.

Samantha

I’ve made some wonderful friends who truly inspire me, stretched myself in ways I would have never imagined and developed a campaign I am incredibly passionate about. I’m so grateful for this experience that ‘thank you’ couldn’t express it, but thank you.

Freya

I’m now so much more confident talking about my disabilities. And using my experiences to hopefully make other people’s experiences better.

Claudia

Setting the standard

In tandem with Everyday Equality, we launched a new brand with accessibility at its heart. Working with disabled people and design experts, we created a new website and visual identity that’s accessible to everyone. Most importantly, our new brand stands as an example for others to follow. We’re proud to be at the vanguard of inclusive design, creating accessible communications that support disabled people living the life they choose.

Accessibility is also at the heart of how we design the information we provide. For disabled people, easy access to the right information to solve problems is vital – whether that’s preparing for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment, choosing the right school, or knowing where to go to complain about public transport.

We’re proud to be led by disabled people and their families in developing our advice and information content.

How we're doing

Since 2018, we’ve tested and refined over 150 pieces of information and advice content, conducting 50 one to one interviews, 12 focus groups and collecting 1,800 survey responses. Since then, 1.5 million people have accessed our online content, finding information on a range of topics, including benefits, work, education and housing.

We’ve also shared our approach with leading brands, government agencies and other organisations, such as Citizens Advice. Which means accessible information is a standard more disabled people can come to expect, wherever they go for advice and support.

Our own helpline, which provides personalised help, advice and information, has answered 95,000 enquiries since 2017. And we’ve grown our online community to 52,900 disabled and non-disabled people who are coming together to share their experiences and support each other.

The Big Hack

In 2019, we launched The Big Hack, our influencing programme to improve the digital world for disabled people. By supporting businesses to make online information, products and services more inclusive, we’re making a difference in real life too. Like booking cinema tickets and knowing you’ll be able to get in the building when you get there.

At the heart of the Big Hack are disabled people, who make up five of the nine members of its advisory panel. So far, more than 400 disabled people have shared their experiences through the Big Hack reporting tool. Based on their insights, Scope’s Big Hack team have been sharing our inclusion message at industry events and meetups, and hosting accessibility workshops.

In 2019, we organised a ‘hackathon’, following research with YouGov (the global public opinion and data organisation) that highlighted inclusivity issues in areas like transport and lifestyle. Over an intensive 12 hours, YouGov’s developers split into teams and came up with cutting-edge digital solutions. The apps they created helped us prove the potential of digital technology to address some of the challenges disabled people face every day.

How we’re doing

We’re proud to be forging relationships with big players, such as Microsoft, Amazon and Uber.

We’ve published our new best practice business case and practical resource hub for digital accessibility. This means more organisations can be accessible and inclusive, too.

Spotlight on Travel Fair

We all know public transport isn’t perfect. But for disabled people, inaccessible vehicles, poor customer service and a lack of information can make life especially difficult. If you can’t be sure you can get around, it’s much harder to get to work, meet friends and live your life independently.

Last year, two-thirds of disabled people experienced problems travelling. And we want to put that right.

In 2019 we launched Travel Fair, our campaign calling on government and transport companies to create a more streamlined and open transport network. We began by talking to 1,000 disabled people about their experiences. Then we arranged for some of them to share their challenges with the Transport Minister and other key industry figures.

Our campaign continues in 2020. And we won’t stop until the government ensures regulations are followed, services are consistent and transparent, and no disabled person has to experience inaccessible public transport.

Tackling extra costs

We knew that disabled families face extra costs – from specialist equipment and necessary modifications to paying more for essentials, like energy and insurance. We also knew it was unfair. But to bring about change, we needed robust, year-on-year reporting, including government and relevant sector data. So, in 2018, we produced our first Disability Price Tag research.

Every month, on average, disabled adults face costs of £583 more than non-disabled adults, regardless of their background or income (Scope ‘Disability Price Tag’ 2019).

Thanks to this research, we were able to campaign for the government to do more to protect disabled consumers. Already, we’re seeing some market regulators begin to change their attitudes.

Giving our work and benefits advice a boost

Tackling extra costs is also about finding the right advice and information about financial support and benefits. That’s what our panel of disabled families told us. So, we consulted a range of subject experts, developed the right online content including a benefits calculator, tested it, and monitored the difference it made.

So far, our online information and community have advised more than 220,000 disabled people about work and benefits. We’ve discovered that over £9 million in benefits has gone unclaimed. Now more disabled people are in the know, more of them will receive the money they’re due. Which means greater financial security and more independent lives.

Fairer energy

Disabled people have been at the heart of our energy campaigning. And by taking part in our research panel and giving evidence in parliament, they’ve helped us achieve real change.

Since 2018, the government and Ofgem have extended the Warm Home Discount, provided better support for vulnerable customers, and improved regulation. Together, we’re beginning to make the energy market fairer.

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