Category Archives: Inside Scope

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!

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.

The Trendsetters win a Scope award!

Linford Christie with Trendsetters

Scope’s Trendsetters were the worthy winners of a Scope award for Working Together… well done, Trendsetters!

This award shows how much Scope appreciates the hard work the Trendsetters are putting in to the project, and how well they are working together with Scope staff and each other to produce information and resources for young disabled people.

The award was presented at a meeting in London, and Bradley and Vanique were there to accept the award on behalf of the whole Trendsetters group. Bradley said, “We were nervous when we got there because we saw loads of people and my Nan said ‘Oh, that’s Linford Christie’ then they said that Trendsetters had won.”

Bradley and Vanique went up on stage to collect the award and have their photo taken, and they talked to Linford after the presentation and told him all about the Trendsetters project and all the different things they were doing. Vanique said, “We both felt shy but Linford talked to us about Trendsetters and Bradley told him about the video he is going to make about how difficult it is to use London buses.”

Congratulations to all the Trendsetters for winning this award, and thank you to Bradley and Vanique who made it to the venue at very short notice and did a fantastic job.

This project is just getting better and better! If you want to get involved please contact us at response@scope.org.uk

Dealing with bullying workshop

Bullying workshop

Hi everyone

Well what a fabulous week we’ve had, with our first Trendsetters workshop, all about dealing with bullying. Way back last year our Trendsetters told us that they wanted information about bullying, as many of them had been affected by bullying behaviour. It’s taken a while to get it organised but with the help of Kidscape we held a workshop at our London offices last week, where eight of our Trendsetters learnt about bullying behaviour and how to deal with it, including some useful practical strategies.

The Kidscape trainer got all of us involved in the role play, and everyone took an active part in sharing their stories and their experiences. Feedback from the Trendsetters at the end of the day was very positive and we are all looking forward to sharing what we’ve learnt on the Scope young people’s web pages soon, so that other disabled young people can learn the same strategies.

Workshops like these mean that we are much closer to being able to give young disabled people the information they want, about the subjects that matter to them, and in a format they can access.

Well done everyone who took part… and watch this space for updates on other parts of the project.

Chair of Scope: why DLA is important to me

Post from Alice Maynard, Chair of Scope

One month before heartbreak blog from Chair of Scope

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is important to me and millions of disabled people up and down the country. It was created because, quite simply, it costs more to live as a disabled person. Those costs may be a direct result of someone’s impairment or condition – such as extra heating – or a result of the environmental barriers that disabled people face in everyday life that make day to day living more difficult, like not being able to get on a bus, or having to make expensive phone calls to get information about access to services.

But as you probably know there are plans to cut the overall budget by a fifth. The government’s hurried consultation on DLA reform closes next month. The chances are we will have edged closer to a system that supports fewer people. More people could find themselves in greater isolation, further from their local community and employment opportunities, and pushed towards greater dependency on the state and other services like the NHS.

One of the simple things I do with the care component of my DLA is to pay extra for vegetables that are already prepared. If I lost this I would need more social care support to help me prepare food – and the total cost of that is around £10 an hour. Some quick arithmetic shows that DLA for diced carrots is by far the cheapest option to keep me independent and healthy. Put pressure on this allowance and all the creative ways in which we disabled people manage our impairments start to break down.

The government is starting from the right principles. They have retained the emphasis on independent living and the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – DLA’s potential successor – will not be means-tested. But this needs to be backed up with practical and sensible reforms. This is a great opportunity to completely overhaul the DLA assessment process and develop one based on the barriers that people face in their day-to-day lives and the additional costs that we face as a result.

Since the DLA was introduced, the nature of those barriers has changed. Some – many physical access barriers for instance – have been addressed, but others – access to internet based services, for instance – have come along instead, and we need to understand their impact on disabled people. But, it looks like the PIP will end up having an assessment based on ‘functional ability’ that falls well short of that. An opportunity missed.

And buried in the overall reforms are some iniquitous proposals. The government’s plan to cut the mobility component for those living in residential care is tantamount to imprisoning these disabled people. The government presumes that transport is covered in care packages paid by local authorities for people living in residential care but in most instances this is not the case. The impact of doing this will be devastating for many. As one disabled person recently told us:

“It would completely take away my independence. My sense of dignity as a person and my life as a normal citizen of my community would both be destroyed if I lost my independence.”

The government is right in its desire to reform DLA but for the reform to be effective it must understand why it costs extra to live as a disabled person and what DLA enables us to do. They desperately need to rethink some key areas and:

• Reverse the 20% cut in the overall budget

• Take longer over the consultation – really get to know how important DLA is and the difference it makes to our lives.

• Develop a test that takes into consideration what stops us fully participating in society and what we have to spend to overcome at least some of the barriers – our extra costs.

It’s great that so many disabled people are blogging today to make their voices heard; I hope the government is listening, because there is still time for them to get it right.

Shops volunteering

Looking for something new to do in the new year? How about volunteering in one of Scope’s shops?

Last year, 7,874 volunteers across Scope donated 1.7 million hours of their time. Many of them worked in one of our 247 shops in a variety of roles. See the types of volunteer roles on offer.

It was bitterly cold when I left my cosy computer to volunteer at my local Scope shop but I received a warm welcome from Thatcham shop manager Marlene Dredge, who has 34 volunteers, including disabled volunteers from Mencap Link and people doing community service, but can always use an extra pair of hands.

The Thatcham shop is the top seller of Christmas cards in the Berkshire area, having sold over one thousand packs. The shop also won third place in the window display competition in the Kingsland Centre this year – not bad considering the display was made with donated goods and no budget!

The volunteers love dressing up and recently created a winter wonderland with resident characters such as the Ice Princess, Snowman, Mrs Santa and Bah Humbug.

Although it’s a fun atmosphere, Marlene keeps everyone busy! That morning, there were more takeoffs at Thatcham than at Gatwick airport – Marlene took 334 items of clothing off the show floor to send for sale to the Petersfield shop. Folding and bagging clothes is quite tiring but worth it to keep the stock fresh for the shop’s many regular customers who help raise upwards of £2,000 a week to fund Scope’s work.

Despite horror stories of soiled (that’s being polite) clothing, nappies and sanitary towels (why? What’s wrong with the dustbin?), most of the donations we received on the day were clean, saleable and of good quality. A house clearance caused a bit of a panic in the small stock room – we could hardly move for stuff but Marlene says, “We accept everything, except bulky furniture, electrical items and husbands with suitcases!”

Nevertheless, we were relieved when the textiles lorry made it through the snow from Kent to take away the rags we couldn’t sell! Find out what Scope shops want. 

The highlight of my day was meeting Violet, who comes in every afternoon to work on the till and keep the bric-a-brac stocked up. She set up the original Spastics Society shop in Thatcham over 20 years ago and still is full of enthusiasm for volunteering.

Volunteer for Scope shops and, like Violet, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are making a vital difference to our work with disabled people.

You’ll learn new skills and gain retail experience as well as meeting new people and becoming part of a team.

You could also gain:

  • Professional qualifications
  • Community spirit – feel part of your local area
  • Disability awareness – you’ll learn more about Scope’s work
  • Paid work – learn about and apply for job vacancies at Scope

If you would like to volunteer, please contact your local Scope shop to discuss your interests and find out which roles are available.