An outlook from our Chair of Trustees
Disabled people and their families have had an extremely tough year. Access to health care, funding, social services, friends and family and employment have all been hit hard.
In some areas, attitudes towards disabled people have been woeful. In contrast, there have been inspirational stories of generosity, triumph, determination, and success.
As we move towards Scope’s 70th Anniversary next year, we’re looking to the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead.
I joined Scope last year, armed with first-hand experience of what it meant to be disabled when the world stood still. This made my decision to lead our organisation and people into a world beyond the pandemic an easy one.
I want to share with you some of the thinking behind next year’s programme of work.
As the UK moves into the next phase of the pandemic, we will continue our work to make sure disabled people are at the forefront of the government’s recovery plans and beyond.
We will track the employment situation for disabled people as furlough support comes to an end. Disabled people are already more than twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people (Labour Force Survey - April to June 2020). We will continue to support disabled people into employment. This includes building on our Work With Me network and encouraging an ever-growing number of businesses and organisations to become more inclusive. Diversity is only effective if all people ready to work can find and stay in work. And that needs employers to follow the path to inclusivity.
Partnerships remain a strong element throughout our work. One major priority, following on from the experiences of many disabled people during the pandemic, is to address the accessibility of supermarket websites and support them in meeting disabled customers’ needs. We will continue to work with other businesses and our Scope Utilities Membership to drive down extra costs and make sure disabled customers can access the support services they need.
We will continue to campaign for a better benefits system to make sure disabled people get the financial support they need and are treated fairly throughout the process.
We will use the work we’re doing as part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership to help address the issues faced by many disabled families. We’re developing a service specifically for young people to make sure they have the opportunities to fulfil their potential.
We will make co-production with disabled people a cornerstone across all our work. Using this approach, we’re working with disabled people to establish new ways to fundraise and host accessible events, looking at applying this in our retail work, and developing our services.
We want to put greater emphasis on the communities of our shops. We will be creating new stores that offer a fully inclusive retail experience and offer information and advice to local disabled people.
We know there are areas where we can still do better. We will make sure that our general information and advice services remain fit for purpose and meet disabled people’s needs.
We will look at new innovative ways to increase our reach. We must expand our services and find additional sources of funding.
We can’t achieve any of this alone. But as part of a strong network of disabled people and allies, we believe we will create a society where disabled people can finally enjoy everyday equality.