Scope’s work and the Zero Project awards

This week, Scope’s projects are being celebrated in Vienna as examples of international best practice.

The Zero Project awards are held every year and focus on the rights of disabled people around the world.  Each year, the Project identifies the most innovative and effective policies and practices that improve the lives of disabled people around themes of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. This year’s themes are independent living and democratic participation. Over 400 delegates from more than 50 countries are attending the awards.

Three of Scope’s projects have been shortlisted for international best practice – Connect to Control, Activities Unlimited and the Access to Elected Office Fund, which we worked with the Government Equalities Office to create.

Connect to Control

“It enables me to communicate and be more independent, which gives me freedom.”

In 2011, Scope launched Connect to Control.  This was aimed at addressing how technological innovations can increase independent living for disabled people. Its key aim was to make equipment cheaper and more accessible for disabled people to allow them more control over their environment.

We commissioned a piece of research with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art called Enabling Technologies to better understand the digital divide between mainstream and assistive technologies and to outline the potential for future inclusive technologies.

The prototype control system was tested by students at Scope’s Beaumont College in Lancaster and 23 students received bespoke systems allowing them to control their environment from their computer for the first time.

The accessible home automation system, based on the Connect to Control prototype, is now available to purchase from Therapy Box.

Learn more about how technology has changed how disabled people live independently.

Activities Unlimited

Activities Unlimited is about making short breaks and activities better for disabled children and young people.  We train and support activity providers.  We help to make sure activities are affordable and that your child can take part with siblings and friends.

Whether it’s sports, arts, dance, drama or a couple of nights away from home, we’ll give you information on what’s available to make sure disabled children can join in and develop their confidence and independence.

In Suffolk, where Activities Unlimited operates, it has transformed the activities available to disabled children and young people.  In 2009 there were 35 short break providers in the county.  There are now around 200 providers of mainstream and specialist leisure activities who offer quality activities to disabled children and young people.  There are 2,700 children and young people registered via the Activities Unlimited website.

Access to Elected Office Fund

As a result of Scope campaigning, the Access to Elected Office Fund became law in 2012.  Disabled people are significantly underrepresented in public life, and the Fund is designed address some of the extra costs they face in standing or applying to become MPs, councillors or other elected officials.

The Fund works by offering individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

The 2015 Election will be the first General Election where candidates have been supported by the fund.  If you are a disabled person thinking about standing for election, do find out more about the fund and how to apply.

“Just because Barry’s got a set of wheels doesn’t mean his ears don’t work!” – #100days100stories

55-year-old Barry got a new lease on life when, with Scope’s support, he moved into his own home. Scope’s Stories Officer Nick Duquemin met Barry and his Support Worker, Judy, at Barry’s home in Hereford.

Here, as part of Scope’s 100 days, 100 stories campaign, Judy and Barry discuss life, changing attitudes and Barry’s beloved Hereford United FC. Barry has cerebral palsy and has complex mobility, learning and communication difficulties. 

Barry and Support Worker Judy smiling in his home
Barry and Support Worker Judy smiling in his home

Judy: Barry will have lived here 15 years this year. I’ve worked for Scope for 16 years – it’ll be 17 years this year. I was a support worker when Barry moved to Hereford. I wasn’t on Barry’s team, but I have known you since you moved to Hereford.

Barry: In 1999.

Judy: Barry has his own tenancy now. It’s a housing association property, so even if we stopped supporting him – even if Scope stopped existing – Barry would still have a home. He would just need to find another care provider.

He’s got security because he’s got a roof over his head, which he wouldn’t have if he were in registered care.

Barry: It [Grangewood] was a big place. Too big. This is smaller. Day-to-day activities.

Barry: Going to the Courtyard.

Judy: You like to go to the Courtyard [a theatre / café nearby], which is really handy for where you live. What do you do on a Saturday, when they’re playing at home?

Barry: Football.

Judy: Hereford United football ground is literally just across the road. Barry likes to go and watch the football, even though they’re not doing very well.

Barry: Yes.

Judy: You’ve got a t-shirt and a scarf – you’re a proper Hereford United supporter. You go to every home game.

Barry: [Unless] I’m on holiday.

Judy: Yes, you missed one because you were on holiday.

Barry: [My holiday was to] Southampton.

Judy: You use Revitalise holiday company. They provide supported holidays, so Barry doesn’t have to take staff with him; he gets supported there. So it’s a true holiday then – he gets to have a break from us and his housemates.

It’s really a holiday if you’re away from everybody. What else do you like to do? You love music. You go to a music workshop. Where did you go this morning?

Barry: Yam Jams [a music/rapping group for disabled people].

Judy: Barry goes to two music groups every week. You go to Yam Jams on a Tuesday and a music workshop on a Wednesday. You do get involved in lots of different things – you do different things with Echo [an organisation which runs activities for disabled people].

You’ve been swimming recently with the learning disability team – the learning disability team [at Hereford Council] have a physio and on a Thursday they organise activities to help with posture. You do trampolining as well with them, don’t you? Rebound therapy, they call it.

Barry: Yes.

Judy: It’s whatever takes your fancy really, isn’t it? Barry’s not really one for set routines, so it is whatever just takes your fancy at the time. You go and see shows at the Courtyard if there’s something on you like. Sometimes it’s just going out for coffee. There’s a lot of flexibility.



Judy: If there’s something you want to see at the Courtyard, you just ring me up or get the staff to ring me up and say, “I want to go and see this on this day”. When I’m writing the rota I can move the one-to-one staffing around to accommodate that.

So it’s Barry who’s in charge – Barry says when he wants the time, which is something he wouldn’t have had when it was residential care.

Changing attitudes

Judy: I think people are more aware and more accepting – they see you every day, don’t they Baz? And I think that’s definitely got to help the general public’s awareness. Seeing individuals rather than seeing people en masse on their weekly trip into town – a convoy of wheelchairs going down the street.

Whereas Barry can go into town whenever he wants to. It’s just him and his support worker and there’s no fuss.

I think it’s a lack of understanding. Sometimes people just don’t know how to cope – they see somebody in a wheelchair and they don’t know how to talk to that person.

I’ve said this often – just because Barry’s got a set of wheels doesn’t mean his ears don’t work, but people suddenly talk louder and slower. That’s better when people get to know you, but you still see it sometimes.

It’s frustrating if I’m out with Barry and someone talks to me rather than asking Barry. “What does he want to drink?” I don’t know, ask him!

Find out more about 100 Days, 100 Stories, and read the rest of the stories so far.