This week is National Storytelling Week. Stories are a really important and powerful way to help others understand the challenges disabled people like me face.
My name’s Charles, I'm 26 and blind. As a storyteller for Scope, I feel proud to have played my part in helping campaign for a fairer society for disabled people, raise awareness of Scope’s services and raise much needed funds to help Scope continue to its work in these challenging times.
How I became a Storyteller for Scope
After the success of gaining paid employment with the help of Scope’s Support To Work programme, my dedicated careers adviser, Zaid, contacted me for a catch-up. He was thrilled my first couple of weeks at work had gone well and that I hadn’t experienced any disability inclusion problems.
Zaid went on to say that he’d love to share the story of our work over the past couple of months and help spread the true potential of the scheme. I was more than happy to participate.
Meeting the Stories Team
A couple of weeks later, I ended up doing a little interview with Edward in the Stories Team. What was meant to be a short chat, turned into over an hour of me reliving past experiences and my determination to gain paid employment.
This was the point that I realised what Scope had done for me and how, when I thought I had very little hope of gaining employment, Scope was there keeping me positive and motivated. Around the time of my interview, Scope were about to launch a new campaign promoting the Support To Work service. They were very keen to have me involved, which was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
My story has helped Scope reach millions of people
Since then, I have taken part in a number of other fantastic projects with Scope. From filming in my hometown of Coventry to filming at Scope’s offices in London. I’ve also taken part in countless radio and newspaper interviews, and even the odd focus group to spread my story.
I began my journey by talking predominately about my challenges of gaining employment, but I have also been provided with a platform to share my story about access to public transport and recently, about the impact that the Covid-19 UK Lockdowns have had on the lives of disabled people like me.
Telling my story has helped me grow in confidence
I think my favourite experience was when I was asked to write a letter to my younger self and read it to camera. This was a truly gripping piece of content to watch, and it was so well directed and edited. It was screened at Scope’s fundraising Gala and used to promote Scope's Online Community. I am so proud of this video which you can watch on YouTube. You can also download a transcript of the video.
The whole experience of all these opportunities that Scope have given me to share my story has given me a confidence boost. It's made me quite good at thinking on my feet to answer complex questions, especially when you’re live on the radio.
The power of first-hand experience
It’s such a collaborative effort because Scope knows that disabled people face additional challenges, but it’s the power of my first-hand experience that gets that message across to the general public.
Scope does all of the hard work in arranging the filming and interviews. All that I do is provide a little amount of my time and think about relevant stories that show the challengers from my perspective. In all honesty, it’s one of the best partnerships I’ve ever worked with!