Your Christmas Wish Stars tell MPs to keep families close

It was around 9 in the evening. A group of us were gathered late, sorting through the hundreds and hundreds of Christmas Wish Stars we’d received — more than 1,300 in all. And that was when I saw this message written on one star:

“I was a disabled child and felt abandoned and I’ve only recently got over that 30 years later.”

I read it out to the rest of our Scope team who were there, and for a minute we all stopped what we were doing. It was an incredible reminder of why our Keep Us Close campaign is so important, to get better local support for disabled children and their families. Here’s another that’s really powerful (and crazy to hear!):

“We are having to consider moving 400 metres into another council boundary to receive the help we can’t find in our council area. How can this be right?”

Last Monday we were so pleased to be able to take your messages into Parliament on International Disabled People’s Day. We wanted to bring them straight to MPs who will be deciding on the Children and Families Bill that could change the future of services for disabled children.

We’ve had good news recently as the Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, has made an important new promise: families will have more say in the support they get and councils will have to listen when they decide which local services they provide for disabled children.

This is a great step in the right direction. But listening isn’t enough of course. What hundreds of thousands of families really need is a guarantee that councils will actually provide the support they need in their local area. It’s a vital missing piece and we believe we can get it. Now we need to keep the pressure on.

Our Christmas reception in Speaker’s House in Parliament was a brilliant way to bring your voices from all over the country to the politicians – and we got to put them on a giant 20-foot Christmas tree! We were hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, and joined by comedian and actress Sally Phillips. Families came from all over the country to meet MPs and talk to them firsthand.

Check out our short film to find out why the MPs featured are supporting Keep Us Close and if you haven’t yet emailed your MP please contact them here orsend your own Christmas Wish Star. We are now posting on every single one of the stars we’ve received to tell MPs they must help keep families close by providing better support.

Sign up for our Campaigns Network and we’ll let you know what happens next!

New co-ordinator meets the mentors

Pippa RobsonI’d like to introduce myself as the new Project Co-ordinator for the Our Generation project in Wakefield. My name is Pippa Robson and I’ve been in the job for two weeks now. I’ve been very fortunate to join a team that already has lots of experience in finding, training, supporting and valuing mentors.

Last week I was delighted to meet a group of mentors who have volunteered with Scope on a previous project and who have agreed to take part in Our Generation, which is focused on both mentoring and befriending for people who are over 50. It was fantastic to meet such a dedicated group, who obviously enjoy what they do.

The best part was seeing how engaged everyone was – I was asked some really interesting questions, and received some very useful information in return that will help in mapping out our work in the New Year. I look forward to our first steering group, and welcoming a new group of mentors in 2013.

We’ll be starting the first round of our new Mentoring and Befriending training on Thursday 7 February so please get in touch if you’d like to know more about it or book a place. Call 01924 256999, or email ourgeneration@scope.org.uk.

Find out more about the Our Generation project.