Employment Support Allowance appeal

Guest post from Panther

After having sent all the paperwork and extra medical evidence in for an appeal in November I still hadn’t heard anything so I spoke to the appeals person from my welfare rights team who had helped me fill the forms in yesterday and they advised me to ring the benefits people. Although the welfare rights person is acting on my behalf he said he wouldn’t be able to phone as I wasn’t with him to answer the security questions and give my permission for him to talk to them for me.

For 10 minutes yesterday I was left hanging on the phone while I waited to speak to an advisor, when I eventually got to speak to someone I was told that yes there was a note on my file that said I had requested an appeal and she could see the letter on the system that had been sent in dated 21st November 2011. The advisor told me it can take months for them to reach a decision when they look at your ESA claim again but she would put a link through to the department dealing with it and ask them to contact me to give me an update.

So this morning I got a phonecall from a DWP office in Hyde why I was getting a phonecall from an office in Hyde when I’d been told to send all the paperwork to Cosham I don’t know. The person at the Hyde office told me there was no note on the system saying that I had requested an appeal and that they hadn’t received any paperwork relating to it. They were going to put another link through to Cosham to see if they had the paperwork somewhere.

I then made another phonecall to the DWP on the number I’d rung yesterday and after another wait of over 10 minutes I was told by another advisor who I discovered aren’t advisors at all just call centre workers that the Hyde office are right there is no record of me asking for an appeal or any of the paperwork that I’d sent in to support my appeal. After a very stressful phonecall where I got very upset arguing how could one person tell me there were notes of an appeal being requested plus when I said a letter was sent requesting for an appeal and that letter was dated 21st November I was told yes I can see that, in less than 24 hours all these things have disappeared!!

I’ve now got an appeal form being sent out to me so have to arrange another visit from the welfare rights appeal person again and have been advised by the call centre that I can either send it back in the envelope provided or I can go to my local job centre. But even going to my local jobcentre isn’t straight forward I can’t just pop in there when it is done I have to phone the call centre back and make an appointment to go into the jobcentre because that is the only way I will be given a receipt for the paperwork I take in. How hard can it be for someone to write a receipt?

Apparently on this second appeal paperwork I have to state that this is a second request for an appeal and we want it accepted because the first paperwork was lost. I’ve got to do this because by only now finding out that none of the appeal stuff was received I am passed the time period I had in which to request an appeal.

This afternoon as I sat still thinking over all I’ve heard this morning I decided to try and speak to the Cosham office so I rang again and yet again was in a queue for over 10 minutes to find out that you can’t be put through to a specific benefit office it all has to go via the call centre who put a link on the system then asking that particular office to call you back!

By talking to this third person I learnt that at the call centre they only have access to certain things on the system they are unable to see any correspondence that has been sent in etc so she can’t understand how the first person I spoke to told me she could see the letter I was talking about.

I also finally had it explained to me why there were two offices involved, if I was a new claimant of ESA then my claim would be dealt with in Cosham that’s why letters I receive have Cosham’s address on it. But because I am moving from Incapacity Benefit to ESA it is dealt with by Hyde.

I did get told this afternoon that the person I’d spoken to this morning had put a link into Cosham and they have said they never received any of my paperwork regarding an appeal.

So now I’ve been advised that when I’ve filled out the appeal form and got any supporting evidence together to phone and make the appointment to go to the job centre and get them to fax it over to where it needs to go to as that will be the quickest and safest way of ensuring it is received.

I suggested to the call centre worker that perhaps letters of acknowledgement should be sent out for example when I do a DLA form I receive a letter to say they have received it and it should be processed in X number of weeks. At least if ESA did that I would of known within 2 weeks of send all the information in that my request hadn’t been received and could of acted on it sooner. I said this whole change over of benefits is stressful enough without having to deal with hearing different things from various people when you phone up and paperwork getting lost. The call centre worker agreed with me and said many of the suggestions disabled people had made the call centre workers agreed with but they were just call centre workers on behalf of DWP so couldn’t do anything

Now I just have to hope when I’ve filled everything in for the appeal that it is accepted and then wait for the outcome.

Panther

Sporting Inspirations Dinner 2011: an evening with cricket legends!

“Still buzzing from a great night thank you @scope everybody should look at what you are achieving and help as much as they can.” Simon Barton on Twitter

Thanks to all the very generous people who attended Sporting Inspirations Dinner at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square and who have raised over £100,000 for our work.

The record-breaking fundraising event was hosted by Scope Patron Alastair Stewart OBE, ITN’s news anchor. He introduced Scope Chair Alice Maynard who explained how the money raised would support our Face 2 Face parent befriending schemes that support 4,000 families of disabled children every year.

£500, she told us, can support one new family to be supported by networks of other parents who have been through similar experiences themselves.

Sarah Kiley was one such mother. Four years ago Sarah discovered that her son Philip had Down syndrome. She found it hard to cope. Friends were awkward and distant. She felt that she couldn’t return to work either physically or emotionally, and her self-esteem suffered as a result. Luckily for her, she found Scope’s Face 2 Face scheme, a network of parents with disabled children who support each other through their common experiences.

She says: “The guilt was replaced by hope. Face 2 Face was a special, very safe place where I could talk.” The experience enabled her “to wear that many hats that the parent of a disabled child must wear: physio, speech therapist, playmate and educator”. By attending courses on speech therapy and signing, Sarah developed the tools she needed to help her son, and Philip started mainstream school in September, something Sarah believes would not have happened without the support of Face 2 Face.

Now Sarah has become a befriender herself and she is passing on what she has learned to two new parents, one of whom, after two years, is about to become a parent befriender herself. This is the virtuous circle that parent befriending creates – £500 can continue to have an effect on future families, too.

Sarah closed by saying that her son Philip wants a cow for Christmas this year, and the Sporting Inspirations Dinner’s special guest, England cricket vice-captain Alastair Cook MBE, who lives on a farm, said he would be happy to oblige!

Despite having a net with England batting coach Graham Gooch at 8 a.m. in Finchley following the dinner, Alastair very graciously agreed to stay out late to be the guest of honour of Jonathan Agnew, BBC’s cricket correspondent and the senior member of the award-winning Test Match Special team, who braved the last train home and provided a running commentary on his Twitter feed.

They discussed Cook’s record-breaking 36 hours of batting in Australia, England’s South African middle order, Geoffrey Boycott, the Mitchell Johnson song, the One-Day Internationals in India… (that’s enough, Ed.)

Former England Test captain Chris Cowdrey had a fine innings as auctioneer, raising nearly £20,000 from eight lots, which included a tour of the ITN studios, a large scale replica of Jenson Button’s Formula One car and a one-week stay in a luxury villa in Barbados!

The silent auction had many fantastic items, including MCC cricket coaching for your school, afternoon tea with Cherie Blair at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, a signed photo of the Downton Abbey cast and several amazing holidays and short breaks. It raised just over £20,000 to bring the total for the event to over £100,000 – that’s enough to support 200 families like Sarah’s, a truly life-changing amount.

For further information or to book your tables or tickets for future events, please contact Sue Dorrington, Special Events, Scope on 020 7619 7271 or email her.

Many thanks to Isabel Hudson, the chair of Scope’s Business Development Board and the Sporting Inspirations Event Committee, who helped to organize this fantastic event on her birthday!

Shining the spotlight on cinema accessibility

Our Campaigns Department has teamed up with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers to try to tackle the issue of cinema access, following two separate campaigns run by the charities earlier this year.

The two campaigns had led to approaches from the cinema industry to discuss our respective concerns so Scope and Trailblazers have been working together to present a series of joint proposals to the industry.

We met with representatives from the three largest UK cinema chains – Odeon, Vue and Cineworld – as well as the Cinema Exhibitors Association, the body representing more or less all the cinemas in the country.

There was a very positive atmosphere in the room and while the disability charities obviously approached the issue of access from a different perspective to the industry, there did seem to be a real willingness to listen and learn on both sides.

The topics discussed were influenced directly by what you told us you wanted to see improved at a local level and included physical access to cinemas, the availability of access information online, and the attitude of staff towards disabled people. It was great to hear about some innovative things the industry is doing to improve disability access, but also to quiz them directly about some of the things you’ve told us they could do better.

The suitability of wheelchair spaces in many cinemas was an issue you, and therefore we, were keen to address. The industry said that accessibility in their cinemas was a top consideration. In planning new buildings they said they always tried hard to meet their obligations under the DDA (now the Equality Act). However, they said that even with new buildings there were still issues of the most cost-effective way to use space. Basically, this means that they felt making better provision for people using wheelchairs would come at the expense of the overall seating capacity of the cinema and that they had to balance the need for inclusion with their business need to maximise customer-generated income.

We told them about some of the difficulties you been having with awkwardly-positioned seating at the front and sometimes the extreme edges of the cinema. They said that the industry tries to offer flexibility in seating but that in some older locations this was not always possible. They said that they recognise the preference for seating in the middle of the auditorium to avoid a strained neck rather than at the front but said that the arena-style seating of many modern cinemas make this impractical and expensive to implement (this is partly because the gradient inside the auditorium can be very steep). We asked whether it would be possible for them to include ramps up to the middle area of seating. They said that this would involve taking out seats which would have implications on the numbers of tickets they could sell.

On the issue of providing tickets for carers and support workers, the news was more positive. The CEA card allows for disabled people to purchase tickets for carers at a reduced rate. The industry said they are keen to expand the scheme. We highlighted the importance of online booking facilities in order to make the use of the CEA card easier. Online booking for CEA card users is something that Cineworld already offer on their website and the other industry representatives were keen to follow suit if this approach proved successful.

Many of you told us that you found it difficult to find out online which cinemas and screens were accessible. We said that it was important to improve the access information so that disabled customers can have all the facts ahead of their visit and can avoid the ‘awkward unknown’ or a wasted journey. They said the industry is keen to improve the access information online and are looking at ways to improve the way it is presented. We will keep you posted as to how they get on.

The attitude of staff towards disabled customers was another issue you said was important. We highlighted this and they said they were keen to make sure every customer enjoyed a great experience in their cinemas. We suggested that it might make their training more ‘real’ for their staff if they were able to involve disabled people in the training sessions.

They said they were committed to offering high-quality disability equality training to all of their staff at every level and that they would work with us and disabled people’s organisations to improve its quality and relevance.

Overall the meeting itself was a positive one. It’s good to hear that the industry is committed to addressing your concerns. We will continue to work with them to ensure they understand the importance of accessibility to disabled people and will keep you updated as to how we get on. In particular, we will be pressing for changes to be made as quickly as possible as many disabled people are missing out on the full social experience of going to the cinema right now.

Talking with the industry is only the first step, we are absolutely committed to making sure that they turn words into action, but we need your experiences and your stories to help us do this. Keep sharing your stories with us atcampaigns@scope.org.uk

Scope celebrates UK Disability History Month

As part of UK Disability History Month, Scope has worked with British Library Disability Voices to include over 200 hours of recorded testimonies by people with cerebral palsy, aged 50 and over, recorded for our Speaking for Ourselves: an Oral History of People with Cerebral Palsy project.

This two-year partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund trained 16 disabled volunteer interviewers to record the life stories of people living with cerebral palsy, and now these life story interviews are available to listen to online.

Disability Voices contains unique and moving memories from disabled people recalling childhood, family life, education and work experiences. There are insights into their treatment by medical professionals, the daily challenges of the workplace and of the attitudes of wider society, and their involvement in disability organisations and communities.

As well as providing useful learning material, Disability Voices expects to challenge and inspire a wide range of users: to help people relate their own experience to others in similar circumstances, but also engage with those who have little knowledge of the lives of disabled people in our society.

Ann Pridmore was one of the volunteer interviewers on Speaking for Ourselves: “It’s an exciting and valuable project. Why? Because disabled people are not included in social history. As a disabled woman with cerebral palsy this opportunity to record our history is long overdue.”

Touch screen devices and disabled children

Guest post from Elvia Vasconcelos, Includer, North London

 

I first saw the potential of touch screen devices a few months ago when Mary, mum of Julian, a three-year-old with global development delays, handed us an Ipad for us to play. Both I and Julian were thrilled and excited when we saw it lighting up. Julian knew what to do and clicked on the application he wanted to use. I followed in wonder.

So what is an app?

“Application software, also known as an application or an ‘app’, is computer software designed to help the user to perform singular or multiple related specific tasks.” Wikipedia

They can be divided into Web apps and Mobile Apps. I will be referring to the later ones as they are designed to run on smart phones, tablet computers, portable media players and other personal digital assistants.

Out of curiosity, App was voted Word of the Year in 2010 by the American Dialect Society. In 2009 the word was Tweet, the word of the past decade was Google (as a verb) and in the 90s it was Web. There is no escaping it!

Potential of touch screen devices for disabled children

Julian is three and although he picks up on everything his mum says he can’t speak. It is still yet to be seen if he will be able to write in the conventional pen and paper way but when he started the Farm animals app he did spell. I was amazed at the control he had on the device and how intuitive it all felt. That was when I first realised the true potential of the ipad, and more generally touch screen devices for disabled children and how much of an impact they will have on special needs education.

The range of applications in special needs is wide and is constantly growing. A very popular one is AutoVerbal talking soundboard. It’s a text-to-speech program developed for non-verbal people with picture buttons that speak pre-programmed messages (such as “My name is Julian”) and it also has the type anything function that allows for more advanced users to carry on conversations. I found a lot of very enthusiastic reviews on the itunes website from people that have been using these apps with their autistic children and it is easy to see the correlation of these programmes with the already instated communication tools in educational settings such as the Pecs (pictures exchange system), Visual timetables and Makaton. I found a couple of websites very helpful in tackling the 30.000 plus apps available: www.SNApps4kids.com and oneplaceforspecialneeds.com.

Overall, apps can be divided into the areas of communication and speech; language and literacy; behaviour, schedules and social cues; cause/effect. There are also tones of games, musical activities and movies.

Also for medical purposes iBiomed is a mobile software application developed for parents of special needs children, to help in managing the complexities involved with their care. It is handy for all medical conditions, but is even more useful for: Autism, Asthma, Allergies, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalga, Migraines, Depression, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, OCD. It’s a free app and there is also an online version if you don’t have any of the touch screen devices. It seems like a very good tool and I have already signed up for a test run.

Happy apping, finger tapping!

Physiotherapy at Orchard Manor

Guest post from Gemma Smith, Physiotherapist.

Physio at Orchard Manor

Physiotherapy doesn’t have to be all about pain, repetitive tasks and intense exercise. At Orchard Manor, we create a fun, functional and action-packed environment for our young people to enjoy, whilst continuing to promote physical health and wellbeing. The young adults at Orchard Manor have profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities with a wide range of co-existing physical and health requirements. It takes all of my physiotherapy knowledge to ensure person-centred, individual therapy for each resident through a range of exciting and challenging activities.

Orchard Manor is a residential transition care home run by the disability charity Scope for 31 young people with severe physical, sensory and learning difficulties and disabilities. Our overall aim is to promote skills and put in place programmes to enable these individuals to live as independently as possible in later adult life. Placements last 3 years and within this time we provide a vibrant, supportive and challenging timetable of development and therapy sessions. This encourages people to develop existing and new skills that they can retain and continue to use when they move on in the future. Physiotherapy is a key area in the lives of our residents and my role is to ensure each individual has the vital equipment, individual programmes and input to enable our high level of physiotherapy care and to put in the ground work so that this continues within the wider community when our residents move on. Orchard Manor practices a multi-disciplinary method of working and therefore I work within an extensive team of professionals, sharing knowledge and expertise to ensure that each young person is supported to maintain and extend their abilities. Orchard Manor has an onsite Skills Development Centre which delivers sessions in art, drama, music, media, ICT, cookery, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy. We aim to ensure that an individual’s time at Orchard Manor is full of functional experiences as well as fun and satisfaction.

I take a ‘hands on’ approach to my role and I see each of our residents between 2-4 times per week depending on their level of physical disability and need. I provide physiotherapy intervention within a group setting or on an individual basis depending on the task or activity being provided. Each of our groups are carefully created to combine residents with similar cognitive and communicative skills in order for us to customise activities to suit their level of understanding and ability. I work in many different environments to ensure physiotherapy is a functional and daily aspect of our resident’s lives e.g. I spend lot of time within the residential flats ensuring equipment and physical management programmes are being correctly carried out by support staff. I also support residents in the community whether that is the local public swimming pool, gym or accessing local horse riding facilities. My plan is to combine social integration and physical wellbeing into the day to day lives of the young people.

Physiotherapy sessions at Orchard Manor are always full of laughter, games and opportunity. I work on the trampoline four mornings a week providing Rebound Therapy for all residents. This acts as an ideal platform to complete alternative positioning, stretching programmes and functional tasks such as bridging and rolling. Each individual completes a specific programme working on their level of mobility and physical aims. Some of our residents are able to bounce with support. However some require adaptive equipment to support their physical position and trained staff to assist them in passively moving their limbs in order to complete stretches and activities such as throwing and catching. Every resident works towards personal goals appropriate to their level of cognition and physical ability. This may be through a sensory experience, increased body awareness, independent sitting or rolling, standing or bouncing. Any physical activity completed on the trampoline during Rebound Therapy also enhances the respiratory system, circulatory systems and bladder and bowel function. This therapy is accessible to most of the young people who live at Orchard Manor and is very popular. As I mentioned at the beginning, my aim is to ensure that physiotherapy intervention is not painful or boring but fun and enjoyable.

Another facility we have at Orchard Manor is a hydrotherapy pool. I run hydrotherapy sessions four afternoons a week for residents who are unable to access the local community swimming pools, either due to accessibility or the temperature of these pools. Our pool is specially adapted with excellent changing facilities and a hoisting system straight into the water. I especially enjoy working with our profoundly physically disabled residents in the water as they are able to achieve so much more mobility and function due to the weightlessness this environment provides. I am able to effectively support the residents to achieve certain positions which would not be possible on land. For example, some young people use wheelchairs at all times throughout the day, but they are able to stand and take steps in the water with suitable support from myself and adaptive hydrotherapy equipment. The 34°- 36° temperature in our hydrotherapy pool also allows muscle relaxation and hence further stretching potential for those with contracted limbs. The young people may help actively with their stretching programmes or we may support them passively to achieve as much additional range of movement as possible. Within this controlled, relaxing and sensory water environment, the residents don’t perceive physiotherapy as painful or intense, but pleasurable, comfortable and safe.

Another very important aspect of the young people’s physiotherapy intervention focuses on mobility and physical activity through active exercise. We have a range of adaptive pieces of equipment to support individuals to achieve this. Our focus during the 3 years people are at Orchard Manor, is to ensure that everyone has their own equipment for long term future use. We support individuals and their families to proceed with the funding for these pieces of highly specialised equipment via private funding or applications through the health or social authorities. I work closely with the Occupational Therapist to ensure the equipment is individually assessed so that it is suitable and physically beneficial for the person who will use it. We have very close links to representatives from large equipment companies and they visit Orchard Manor on a regular basis to demonstrate new equipment and maintain and reassess our existing equipment. This means that our residents remain safe, supported and comfortable and benefit from advances as they become available.

Our young people have an array of standing frames, walking frames, side lying boards, tricycles, comfortable seating and sleeping systems all individually adapted for their use. The extensive grounds at Orchard Manor include a private road that orbits the entire site and can safely be used for tricycle riding and walking. This provides a change of scenery and a stimulating environment in which to complete these activities. Mobility for residents comes in a range of different forms depending on the physical needs of each person’s body. We use the most adaptable walking frames to achieve walking/stepping with the most unlikely to mobilise residents. As you can imagine, this creates a satisfying and rewarding personal achievement along with the health and physical benefits gained from moving and being in an upright position.

Postural care is a major aspect of each individual’s physiotherapy regime. Our staff ensure that positive postural positioning, for each young person, is applied 24 hours a day and individual photographic and written programmes are composed by myself for the support staff, families and the residents themselves to follow. Alternative positions are implemented within the day, whether that is in a music session, whilst watching a film, when eating or drinking, or in an individual’s free time. I work with residents and liaise with our care and skills development staff to identify the most beneficial and appropriate positions for each person when using adaptive equipment. Each resident also completes weekly small group physiotherapy sessions that focus on positioning. During this time individuals are supported 1:1 by a member of staff and, following my directions, achieve a suitable position, whether that be in standing, sitting, lying on their back, front or side. When each resident is positioned correctly and comfortably we complete a range of activities such as bowling, puzzles, sensory object manipulation, exercise tape recordings, drawing, looking at books or using table-top games. This again incorporates function, fun and positive positioning for our young people.

Another session we complete weekly within physiotherapy is integrating postural care with passive movements. Each resident is positioned in a relaxed neutral position and supported 1:1 by a member of staff. We complete a full body passive movement stretch routine to assist the young people to maintain their current range of movement and muscle flexibility. I lead this session and my aim is to educate staff so that these activities are completed as part of an individual’s daily stretching routine within the residential flats. With practice, advice, demonstration and observation during these sessions, the confidence and competence of our support staff greatly increases and we ensure each member of staff works with different residents with different physical presentations to enable further progression.

I am committed to the role I play in staff training which greatly benefits the residents. I lead formal training on Postural Care and Passive Movements, indicating the aims, benefits and safety precautions within these topics. I include a practical demonstration of full body passive stretches and a sleep system demonstration. Support staff use sleep systems with residents on a nightly basis, without immediate physiotherapist assistance and so this training is vital to ensure that sleep systems are used effectively and safely. This training has been extremely successful and popular. It has helped support staff to further their knowledge and understanding of these important aspects of care. I also train staff to assist our residents in the hydrotherapy pool so that they can make the most of this facility in the evenings and at weekends.

I have mentioned just some of the activities I complete with the residents at Orchard Manor, however every day is different and we adapt, change and explore alternative ideas all the time to achieve exciting and beneficial results. The young people I support are extremely important to me. Their care, independence and enjoyment are always at the forefront of all my physiotherapy intervention and I strive to ensure that their health, happiness and physical wellbeing is well maintained and monitored. Orchard Manor Transition Service is a fantastic place to work and the attitudes of the staff combined with the facilities and high standard of care ensure that each person’s needs are met and that they are happy, motivated and ready for the challenges the future is sure to bring.

Calderdale Aspire Services win Team Of The Year Award

Scope’s Aspire Services in Calderdale are delighted to have received the “Team Of The Year Award” at an awards ceremony held at Halifax Minster to mark the work of the people who provide services to adults and older people in mental health, learning disabilities, residential and day care services.

Diane Thundercliffe, David Codling, Steve Oldroyd and Davis Hopkinson supported a group of disabled people on a three-day break to London. They arranged everything from finding a hotel, going to the theatre and sightseeing.

The award praised the opportunity and experience gained from the trip, saying: “The team went beyond their role and responsibilities and made a real impact to improve the quality of life of the people they support.”

The service was nominated by a customer and his care provider for the team’s person-centred service. He nominated the team for the way it supported him on his holiday to London. It was the first time the day service had run holidays, at the request of their customers.

The customers were involved in all aspects and tailored their holiday in London around what they wanted to do. Everyone had their own Personal Assistant and some fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition and went on a tour of Arsenal’s Emirates stadium with Gunners legend, Eddie Kelly. One person went to the theatre after having a afternoon in Covent Garden. They are planning their next trip to Tenerife and other European cities.

Service manager Peter Wardhaugh said, “I am delighted the team where recognised in this way and appreciate the customer and provider nominating us. However, this is what we are about: working alongside and with people to see the things they want to achieve happen.”

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.

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

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