2014: a year in the life of Scope’s helpline

In 2014, Scope’s helpline received thousands of telephone calls and emails and responded to a huge variety of posts on Scope’s online community and social media networks. People talked about all sorts of things relating to disability, from housing to Motability, from recycling disability equipment to taking part in sport. When we add in the unique views of our information on the Scope website, all in all we reached over half a million people.

We thoroughly enjoyed hearing the reactions to the End the Awkward campaign and Strip for Scope. Thank you to all of you who got in touch with us, we enjoyed sharing your feedback.

We launched a revised version of the Parent Information Guide aimed at parents of young and newly diagnosed children and we have also been busy writing information products. Check out the Scope website for the following new information:

Training

It’s really important that we keep up with all the changes that are happening in the disability field so we’ve been on several training courses. We’ve attended training on changes to the Welfare system including Universal Credit and PIP and we’ve learned more about Healthcare Budgets, Direct Payments, Housing, Community Care and special educational needs. One member of the team attended a two-day training session all about sleep.

Places we’ve been

Occasionally we manage to get out of the office and meet people face to face. We’ve visited some DIAL advisory groups and had a stand at Kidz in the Middle exhibition in Coventry, the UK’s largest exhibition for parents of disabled children and professionals. We were present at the SEN and Disabilities Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine and visited the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ. And we managed to get out to some Sure Start Centres.

The team

Each member of the helpline team has a specialism aligned to one of Scope’s strategic themes. As well as getting general information on all aspects of living with a disability, you can speak to us in detail about:

We also managed to fit in an office move with little disruption to the service, thanks to everyone’s hard work. And we’ve just recruited an extra team member.

The enquiries we receive on the helpline really help Scope to understand the issues that people are facing. This means that (with your permission) we can inform our colleagues what you are telling us and they can use that information to decide what campaigns or policy work we need to do. Your calls about the delays to PIP were very helpful. We collected evidence and sent it to the Department for Work and Pensions to highlight the various problems claimants were experiencing. Your calls also contributed to the work we are doing with our Extra Costs Commission. We’re always looking for stories and case studies to put forward to our stories team to raise awareness of the issues affecting the people contacting us. All of this work continues and we are excited about the new challenges ahead in 2015.

So we’ve been extremely busy supporting disabled people and parents with disabled children and we’re really looking forward to the year ahead. Thank you to everyone who has contacted us in 2014 and may we wish you all a very Happy New Year.

For free, independent and impartial emotional support or disability advice, contact Scope’s free helpline on 0808 800 3333  or helpline@scope.org.uk. You can also talk to others online.