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We're all about changing society for the better, so that disabled people and their families can have the same opportunities as everyone else.

The Amsterdam 300 challenge

Guest post from Emily Worsley

Scope Amsterdam 300 challenge

As the Amsterdam 300 challenge began and I watched the 65 road cyclists set off into the night, I hoped their training and excited energy would be enough to fuel them through to the finish 300 miles away in Amsterdam. This was the first time this event had ever taken place and was due to raise £78,000 for our vital work with disabled people and their families, so it was important that it went well.

For months these participants had been working hard to raise £1,200 each for Scope and prepare their bodies for what would be a gruelling, physical ride across four countries to reach Amsterdam just two days later. Night cycling, weather conditions, lack of sleep and physical exhaustion were just some of the elements these cyclists were facing, but all of them were more than up for the challenge… maybe the thought of a little belated ‘Dutch courage’ on arrival in Amsterdam was a big motivation!

Travelling along with the event (not by bike I hasten to add!), it was incredible to watch these cyclists pull together, motivate each other and work as a team and I think this really epitomises what a charity fundraising event is all about. All of them made it… just… and I admire their determination, not only on the event itself but in their passion for cycling and using that as a means to help a vital cause. Many of them have already put their names down for the next leg in 2012 on our London to Paris 24, which sees our team cycle from London to Paris in just 24 hours! This just shows how exciting these events are and I can’t wait to see more fundraising coming in for Scope as a result!

Coping with the Cuts

Scope and leading independent think tank Demos have teamed up to produce their Coping with the Cuts report that looks at the impact local cuts are having on the lives of disabled people and their families living in England and Wales.

I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in what’s happening to their local services to have a look at our interactive map, and browse through the report to see how their council is coping http://disability-cuts-map.demos.co.uk/

We know that the cuts are likely to affect people in different ways, but if you are at all concerned, it’s really important that you get in touch with your local council to tell them.

Tell your local councillor to stand up for disabled people locally and protect the services in your community. Telling your story is a great way of making your council understand the true impact of funding decisions on the lives of people they represent.

Don’t miss your chance to have your say. Use our template email to share your views. It takes seconds to do but could make a big difference to disabled people living near you. Make sure the people you care about know what’s happening in their area too by sharing Demos’ report with friends and family or by joining the conversation live on Twitter (#localcuts).

Top 10 Scope memorable legacies

After trawling though our archives, here are Scope’s top 10 most memorable legacy gifts…

10. The grand piano

A Londoner donated a baby grand piano in their will. It was later valued at £10,000. The only problem was trying to remove it from the house’s basement.

9. The paintings

An art lover left Scope a number of paintings by popular impressionists Georges Rouault and Chaim Soutine in their will. The proceeds of their sale, on the individual’s wishes, were to be split evenly between 24 charities including Scope, the British Red Cross and Help the Aged.

Such was the quality of the paintings and the fame of the artists; they were auctioned across the world in Paris, London, New York and Zurich. The paintings sold for prices ranging from £50,000 to over £1 million, with Scope being the beneficiary of just over 4% of the proceeds.

8. The land in the Bahamas

In March 2009 Scope was donated a small plot of land in the Bahamas. Valuations on the land have ranged massively – from £8,000 – £200,000. These fluctuations combined with legal difficulties in the Caribbean have meant he plot has been surprisingly difficult to sell.

7. Royalties from a radio and TV star

Scope was donated the royalties from the radio and television work of the 1950s and ‘60s radio and TV star Wilfred Pickles OBE. Pickles was a big supporter of Scope, then called the Spastics Society, and he opened the Wilfred Pickles School for Spastics at Tixover Grange, Rutland in 1955. His popular radio game show, Have a Go, stretched from 1946 – 67 and earned him national recognition. His work on the ITV sitcom, For the love of Ada, was also a popular show in the early 1970s. Scope is entitled to payments for the next 37 years.

6. Oil well shares in Canada

A Canadian gave Scope and an another charity an equal share of his estate of just over £140,000. It later emerged however the donation included a number of shares held in oil wells in Alberta, Canada.

5. Royalties from J Milton Haynes music hall-era poem, The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God

Read the poem here.

4. The school wing

Supporters that were given a tour of Scope’s Ingfield Manor school in Sussex were so impressed with the school that they donated over £50,000 for a new wing to be added, which has greatly benefitted the students.

3. The parent befriending scheme

A generous lady left £30,000 to Scope which she specifically wished to be spent in the Isle of Wight. Scope is using the money to establish a face-to-face support service for parents of disabled children on the Isle of Wight.

2. The residential centre

Jon Laverneo had cerebral palsy and lived in a Scope home most of his life. A relative left a legacy large enough to establish a residential home for disabled adults in Sunderland. A purpose-built four-person bungalow called Laverneostands as a reminder of Jon and the legacy his family left.

1. The swamp!

Scope has been left a 26-acre plot of land just outside of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Discussions were held over turning the area into a canal-side marina, and there are even plans to convert the land into a sports complex, but nothing has yet been confirmed. Estate agents described it as a “development opportunity”.

Find out more about giving a gift to Scope in your will.

Sports day

Sports day

Sports day 2011 was again a great success at Orchard Manor transition service with bright and warm weather all day allowing for all planned activities to go ahead, including homemade ice cream at break time.

As last year, the electric wheelchair, cycling and walker races went down really well with all of the young people working really hard to win points for their teams. This year we had grown to four teams, having a higher number of young people taking part than last year.

The highlight of the day was the five-a-side football tournament with both staff and young people taking part with enthusiasm and energy to win the matches.

This year’s overall winners were Flat 1 who are now in possession of the coveted Orchard Manor sports day plaque which has been engraved for them and will stay in their possession to be fought after again at next year’s sports day.

Working as an intern in Scope’s campaigns team

Today marks my third week working as an intern in Scope’s campaigns team. They haven’t fired me yet, so I figure I must be doing something right! I’ll be working here part-time for the next three months, and I already feel like I’m setting in nicely.

I’ve just moved back home from university, and will finish my MA in Political Theory at the end of August when I submit my dissertation. If you ever want someone to ramble at you about social construction, implicit bias and stereotypes against marginalised groups, I am definitely your girl. This position was my first interview post-university, so naturally I’m thrilled to have the job, and I’m hoping that this marks the start of a fulfilling career in the campaigning charity sector.

This is my first office job, and all the trimmings of office life seem very novel and exciting to me – my own desk with a little stationery pot, the ever-flowing tea and coffee and even my own work email account. But Scope isn’t just any office. Here, there’s a definite sense of people working together for a common goal that is larger and more important than simply turning over a profit.

As a disabled person, it’s also pretty nice to find myself in an environment where disability is unremarkable, where the gleam of wheels or the sight of snoozing service animals is present and perfectly ordinary. It’s nice to know that no one will bat an eyelid when I get my insulin out at lunch or take my medication with my tea in the afternoon.

I’m having a great time. I’m learning loads about the way a campaigning organisation works, and I’m working with great people who value my input and include me in their work. I have a sneaking suspicion that the next three months are going to fly by.

Find out more about volunteering vacancies with Scope.