Alice Maynard on her six years as Scope Chair

In October Scope’s Chair Alice Maynard steps down after six years.

Over the coming months we’ll be marking some of the big changes she has overseen.

We kick off today with Alice describing in her own words the highs and lows since 2009.

In her own words…

I’ve been Chair of Scope since 2008. I’m stepping down this year after two terms.

I’m most proud about how we’ve been able to turn the organisation around financially. Scope wasn’t in a great place. It was struggling to be sustainable. But we turned it around. That has given us the strong foundation to develop a bold, unambiguous strategy, and build an organisation ready to deliver it. We want disabled people to have the same opportunities as everyone else. Everything we do – from our care homes to our campaigns – has to reflect how ambitious we are when it comes to disability. But we have to be financially sound to be able to do this.

My background is in the private sector. Hopefully I’ve helped bust the myth that the commercial and voluntary sectors have nothing to learn from each other. We need to keep breaking down the barriers between the two and bringing learning across the divide.

Our relationship with Disabled People’s Organisations has improved. We’ve put time and effort into being an ally. I was privileged to have the launch of DisLIB as my first public event. If you want to see how far we’ve come, you just have to watch our new video on the ‘social model’. We’re a platform disabled people can use to explain in their own words to the public why thinking differently about disability makes all the difference.

We can be proud of ourselves and what we’re trying to do once again. We have helped people understand what it means to be disabled and the positive contribution we can make to society when properly supported (for instance, in managing the extra costs of being disabled).

The Olympic and Paralympic effect which, though patchy and in some ways hard to hang onto, has changed what people think is acceptable – for instance in access provision in the transport system.

In many ways, life for disabled people in 2008 was easier than it is now – it was just before the financial crisis, laws that demanded disabled people should be treated equally were being strengthened. The impact of the recession and austerity on disabled people and their families has been disastrous, taking away dignity and independence.

I think the future is a challenging place. But there are causes for optimism with the advances in technology that help people communicate, and manage their lives in innovative ways. There are real opportunities with the improvements in the built environment. But we are in danger of losing those opportunities if we don’t actively seek to capitalise on them.

People undervalue disabled people. You can see the impact from hate crime at the extreme end, to just not getting jobs because of unconscious bias at the other.

Scope in five years’ time. Stronger, louder, prouder! You can have as many Chairs in an organisation as you like, but without the volunteers, staff and supporters, nothing will happen.

A piece of advice for the new Chair of Scope? Look after Scope well – it’s precious. Keep it true to its mission in everything it does, use its resources wisely, and you can’t go wrong.

3 thoughts on “Alice Maynard on her six years as Scope Chair”

  1. Sorry Alice for us and the families of those that Scope intend on making homeless you have ruined Scope for us. You have pursued a political agenda as a highly educated and articulate physically abled person to improve the situation of those who can make decisions about where they live, with whom and how they spend their money. Sucked along in all of this are those people, like my daughter, who are physically disabled AND have sever learning difficulties – they cannot communicate and are entirely dependent on another human being to survive (unlike you).You have not thought of these people – you cannot relate to them and you are throwing them into the gutter to be placed where ever Social Services can find a vacancy – away from surroundings they know, residents they know and staff who care and protect them.

    For one moment think about the psychological trauma this will cause. How would you like to be moved out of your home where you have lived for over 21 years – with 4 residents who have been there even longer. To a place you do not kb=now and you would not ne able to chose.

    Have you ever visited a place like the Douglas Arter Centre in Salisbury? How would you (or you Senior Managers) cope looking after someone doubly incontinent and suffering from epilepsy? I doubtif you have ever given it a seconds thought.

    Think about the trauma you are casing families of the 190 people you want to move on. Sleepless nights, nightmares about what will happen to our children, our family members. Is this what a caring society is all about – it should not be – but you and Scope are saying and doing this. Shame on you.

  2. Can I ask Alice ,when will you pay attention to the needs of the profoundly disabled, awaiting eviction from the homes you are closing ?

  3. Alice, as far as I can see you have done nothing in six years other than to support an organisation previously held in high esteem to falter and lose the public’s support.

    You have played a pivotal role in allowing homes to be closed for some of society’s most vulnerable and continue to ignore the great divide between able disabled people and those whom I and many like me represent, the totally dependent and disabled individuals, the very people for whom Scope was first established to care for.

    How dare you write of your successes when 8 homes are being closed and 190 people forced to move from their communities into a social care environment where you yourself as able as you are, have written about the poor state of domiciliary care packages in the community.

    How will you feel proud knowing that severely disabled people’s lives and those of their families have or soon are to be ruined? Well done Alice, a legacy to be truly proud of!

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