Tag Archives: Britain Cares

Persuading 150 people to join Britain Cares

Guest post from Sophie Colman who works for the Exeter National Citizenship Service, a project for 16 and 17 year olds to build their skills for work and life, take on new challenges and meet new friends.

Exeter blog photo

Would you believe that a group of 16 and 17 year olds with no campaigning experience could get 150 people to make a difference in just two days? Nor did many of our Exeter National Citizenship Service at the start of our five-week campaign.

A light bulb went on

The programme began with a stay at Bicton College.

Now, if you put a group of teenagers into a room and ask them to pay attention for a couple of hours while it’s bright and sunny outside, it doesn’t always work. But when Karin Gray from Scope told us about the difference the organisation makes to the lives of disabled people, a light bulb went on in many of our minds.

After the talk, our group decided to help out with Scope’s Britain Cares campaign. It really spoke to us.

Making T-shirts and booking Otters

We started planning straight away and came up with the idea of going out into Exeter High Street and telling the public about Scope and their campaign. We designed T-shirts that said, “I care, do you?” for our photo action. That was in line with the campaign’s aim to show the government that Britain Cares about everyone who needs social care getting it.

While the more artistic made T-shirts, the rest of us contacted people to secure a place to campaign, prepared campaign materials and booked the Exeter Otters – a wheelchair basketball team who kindly agreed to come along and demonstrate some passing routines. This helped us get a lot of photos for the campaign.

Amazing public response

Finally, it was time to put on our smiles, get out there and sign people up to the online petition. Most of us were slightly scared about going up to strangers, but we were astounded by the positive response. The Otters performed brilliantly, and people listened to every word and saw how enthusiastic we were. We managed to sign up 150 people.

Overall, the campaign went much better than we thought. I would campaign again for Scope, as I know it would help many people in the future.

A massive thank you to everyone who helped us make this project possible, everyone who signed the petition and to our project leaders for putting up with us!

Join Britain Cares

It’s really easy to join the Britain Cares campaign by uploading a photo.

Making independence and inclusion a reality

Post from Scope’s Chair Alice Maynard.

The anniversary of the Paralympics has sparked a nationwide debate about being disabled in 2013. The Government’s hope that the games would improve attitudes to disability has rightly come under scrutiny in the media. I’m just one of a diverse bunch of activists, experts, writers and sportspeople who’ve been touring the studios warning that the divisive scrounger rhetoric undermines any positivity from 2012.

In this blog I wanted to pick up on something that hasn’t had quite the same air space over the last couple of days… the Government’s ambition to get more disabled people involved in sport and the community more widely.

The Government’s independent evaluation points to small increases in participation in sport and the community. But there’s a bigger picture here. As Tanni Grey-Thompson argued recently if you can’t get out of bed or get washed in the morning, you can’t take part in sport and you are not going to be involved in the community. In 2013 there is a crisis in living standards for disabled people. Nearly one in five (16%) disabled people say they cannot keep up with rising costs of living. Disabled people are three times more likely to take out high interest, high risk loans to pay the bills. Yet the Government has stripped away £28.3 billion of financial support for disabled people. Meanwhile 100,000 disabled people are being pushed out of the social care system, with many struggling to get support they need to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. That’s why our Britain cares campaign is calling on people across society to tell the Government they really are concerned – they care – about this issue.

It’s not just adults. At the same time parents across the country tell Scope that too often local services segregate rather than provide support for greater independence and inclusion. The Government must take the lead. And it has two big opportunities: the Care Bill and the Children and Families Bill (which has been the focus of our Keep Us Close campaign), both of which are being debated this autumn.

If the Government wants disabled adults and children better included in sport and the wider community, it needs to end the squeeze on local care and place duties on councils to make local services more inclusive. Scope is one of many organisations making the case for a tougher legislation. But legacy is not just a job for Government, though they have a crucial leadership role to play. We all have to play our part in helping to realise a world where stereotypes and attitudes don’t hold disabled people back, and where inclusion and opportunity is a reality for everyone. Our actions must speak at least as loudly as our words; not always something that comes naturally to charities.

People rightly ask what we’re doing on the ground to create a society where disabled children and adults are better included in their local community. We’re proud of some our new services that are doing just that. Scope is running a pilot where parents of disabled children are supported to pool personal budgets from the council to buy accessible activities within their communities. And we’ve just brought out a toolkit for teachers to support them to better include disabled children in mainstream education.

At the same time we are transforming the more traditional local services we run so that they promote greater independence and inclusion. For instance, we have changed or closed a number of residential care homes in the last few years. This is absolutely crucial, but it’s not something that can be done without a great deal of consideration as it is often hard for the disabled people, families and staff involved. So when we make changes like this, we do our best to do it sensitively and respectfully, supporting everyone affected to understand what the changes mean and what choices are available to them. Where it is no longer appropriate for us to provide support for people, we want to work with the relevant authorities to help ensure that those people’s needs can be properly met elsewhere. We know that many disabled people find the pace of change frustrating and we know that a number of groups will be making this point as part of the ‘Reclaiming our futures’ week of action from Monday. But for organisations like Scope, there’s a real balance to strike between taking the time to manage change properly whilst not using this as an excuse to change too slowly.

To bring it back to Paralympics legacy. Although attitudes underpin everything, I hope we can debate how we better include disabled people in the community. The Government has to take a lead. But charities like Scope can’t simply shout from the side-lines. We have to make sure that we develop our services to embody inclusive education and independent living, however difficult that may be. When we get challenged on this, we must welcome that challenge and use it to help us make progress.

5 unexpected tools for the keen campaigner

Petitions, letter writing, provocative slogans on t shirts…the essentials when campaigning on social change. Throw in a few media stunts with over-sized props and you’re looking at a campaign win. Maybe…? Here at Scope we’ve been trying out some tactics that aren’t as common when campaigning – and learning a lot along the way.

As we’re recruiting for a National Campaigns Officer, we’ve been reflecting on some of the unexpected tools we’ve used so far…

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1) Glitter

Arguably a useful resource to have around whatever you’re doing, last Christmas we proved that glitter can also be a powerful campaigning tool.  Also essential was glue, and over 1,800 stars with wishes for better support for disabled children. In December we found that glittery wish stars could be the magic ‘thread ‘ so often sought by campaigners – tying together a key policy ask with a media- worthy action that resonates with the public and all while catching the attention of decision-makers.

It was all part of the Keep  Us Close campaign, aiming to ensure that disabled children and their families  get the support they need close to home. The Wish Stars were displayed on a 20ft Christmas Tree at a Parliamentary reception, and then sent onto MPs afterwards – from whom we got many positive responses: “the stars have pride of place in my office in Westminster”. They even made it onto the Guardian.

Why it works: Creative delivery and meaningful messages, together with a clear destination for campaign actions (a Parliamentary Christmas tree, say) should never be underestimated.  Neither should the power of glitter.

Exmouth cropped photo

2) 236 till points

Charity shops. Great places to pick up a bargain, and maybe leave with a warm glow knowing you’ve donated to a good cause. A place to lobby influential decision makers? To learn about key issues affecting disabled people today? Surprisingly yes – the charity shop till point ranks highly as one of the most important tools for a Scope campaigner.

In the past year, Scope customers have sent over 43,000 campaign postcards to MPs on key campaign issues. The shops dedicated a month each to Scope’s key campaigns in October and again in May, with posters throughout the shop and staff and volunteers encouraging their customers to sign campaign postcards that were sent to their MP – and they did, in their thousands. And with the card-signing came valuable conversations. MPs also visited the shops, showing their support for the campaign and encouraging local media coverage.

The response from Scope customers to the campaign issues was overwhelmingly supportive. Speaking to our customers about our priority campaigns makes sense – it allows them to learn about the issues facing disabled people today, and how they can play a role in improving the situation.

Why it works: MPs often need to hear about an issue from a large base of people, and shop staff want a way to engage with their customers and share more about the work that Scope does. The perfect match. And there’s potential to do a lot more.

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3) 300 flat pack boxes

Searching for reasonably priced flat-pack ‘fold at home’ gift boxes online is a tricky business. There is a surprising array of colours, dimensions and sizes available.

Why was I searching for a suitable ‘memory box’? It was January. We wanted a campaign action that wasn’t ‘make a new year’s resolution for change’. MPs needed to hear a strong, memorable reminder that family time together was precious. The Children and Families Bill was about to go into Parliament, MPs had already received emails, shop-postcards and wish stars on the issue.

Asking people to share a fond family memory with their MP turned out to be a good decision. We had a brilliant response in just three weeks (even in January!) and the memories people shared were heartfelt and meaningful – from sandwiches on the beach with Nan to long car journeys and Christmases together. Some people even shared photos. We packaged these memories into the freshly-folded boxes, tied them up with string and hand-delivered them to MPs.

Why it works: Often supporters have meaningful messages to add to a campaign, you just need to ask. Create an interesting space for people to make their actions unique and then do the message justice with creative delivery. And remember that MPs want to hear personal stories.

4) “Hi, my name is…”

Okay this one seems tentative, but bear with me. Meeting other people isn’t that radical – but finding campaign allies can often be overlooked as a priority. In the past year, we’ve had great success building relationship with others – across Scope departments, and with other organisations – and we need to keep at it.

Scope donors now regularly support our key campaigns. They’ve received emails, postcards, and even their own pre-made wish stars – so they can support Scope not only with their generous donation, but also with their influencing power.

We’ve worked with our Scope service Activities Unlimited on the Keep Us Close campaign (involving a Fun Day with a LOT of glue and glitter). We’ve introduced MPs to parents of disabled children via our Face to Face service. All of these activities depended on building a good relationship – and making an effort to understand the aims of others and how working together can strengthen them. And there’s always more to do.

Why it works: Working with others isn’t new – but is it essential. Our supporters won’t pigeon–hole themselves – so neither should we. Shop customers, parents, donors – they can all take part in a campaign, so it’s our job to work together and make it possible, and keep learning to make the partnerships better and better.

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5) A bar of soap.

The social care soap may take the prize as the most unusual tool so far. But if you’re intrigued, there are plenty of soap bars still being decorated to send to MPs as part of the Britain Cares campaign. And socks. And cards.  So you can join in! Again, it’s about being able to show MPs that this is an issue their constituents really care about. But this time the creativity doesn’t come from Scope – it comes from the crafter themselves – who adds their ‘I care’ message in their own way. While they’re busy stitching, gluing or carving into soap, they automatically invest time in their message, and can contemplate what they’re saying and why. Increasingly we hear that MPs need to know the messages they receive are meaningful– so creative campaigning seems to have a very important role to play.

Why it works: It’s fun, it can be therapeutic, it creates a personal message and catches the attention of MPs with its uniqueness. What’s not to like?!

There are plenty of tools that didn’t make the final 5 – telling a story with animations or compelling case-study films, working with partners from large corporates to local groups. And there are still more tools to be discovered for the next, and most ambitious campaign that Scope has planned. The possibilities are open.

Maybe you could be the one to create them…?

You can apply for the Scope National Campaigns Officer role here.

Crafting our way to change

On Tuesday night, as rain was falling across London, there was a quiet revolution going on in a cafe near Kings Cross. Amid china teacups and origami cranes suspended from the ceiling, vintage furniture was gradually getting covered in paper, glue and sparkly pompoms.

The London cafe Drink Shop Do is used to being a hub of creative activity, with evenings that range from biscuit decorating to Lego building. But on Tuesday evening, craft was in the name of social care.

The Britain Cares campaign, which has already seen support from over 27,000 people, is calling on the Government to ensure that 100,000 disabled people receive essential social care support to live their lives. Under current Government plans, they’ll be denied it.

This is why a group of crafters, varying in experience, gathered to prove to politicians that not only are the current plans unjust, but that people in Britain really care about the issue. And they intend to prove it…with pompom-embellished socks. The 25+ crafters who met on Tuesday, marking the beginning of Britain Cares: Britain Crafts week, spent their evening adding ‘I care’ messages to socks, soaps, coasters and even tote bags.

Craftivists with 'I Care' tote bag made as part of Britain Cares: Britain Crafts

As you can see from the photos, their creativity was limitless – and this is exactly what is needed to catch the attention of MPs, with meaningful messages that people have spent time creating, calling on them to really think about the issue, and take action.

Using craft for activism may be increasingly popular, but it’s not new.

If you’re not familiar with crafty activism, or ‘craftivism’ here’s the lowdown:

What is it?

Betsy Greer coined the term ‘Craftivism’ as:

“A way at looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.”

The Craftivist Collective point out that craft + activism = craftivism, and they aim to show that ‘making people aware of the injustices and poverty in the world can be joyful as well as empowering and fulfilling.’

Why would I do it?

Craftivists say that as a campaigning method, it can be very satisfying. Making time to think about the issue is always refreshing, and craft encourages you to really consider your message.

It’s great that online activism has allowed us to campaign at the click of a button, but it can be overwhelming if you’re actually asked, ‘Why does this issue matter to you?’ Pause. In that frame of mind, when swiftly sending a pre-prepared email, it can be difficult to stop and really think about why what you’re doing matters. For me, craftivism is the self-initiated ‘pause’.

But isn’t this urgent?

Like many steps out of the ordinary, it can feel counter-intuitive:

‘Quick! There’s a crisis going on! We must shout loudly!’

Using craft doesn’t take away the urgency – it allows you to contemplate why the issue is so urgent and consider the most powerful and meaningful way to make change. It puts the power back in the hands of the campaigner – quite literally. Sometimes sitting and thinking about how we could create something that really gets across why we feel a certain way can be the most empowering way to use our voices.

Time is important

It doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. Timing of action is always important. But actually, the time it takes to make something is part of the process.

Time is our most democratic and precious resource, and should be valued by those on the receiving end. By investing my time in something I really care about, I hope my MP will respect the action all the more, and feel that he is also valued as my representative.

I’m not sure my MP will really be convinced by craft

With all campaigning we have to ask what will have an impact. Scope already knows that delivering messages creatively can make an impression. As part of our Keep Us Close campaign, MPs received hundreds of wish stars and family memories, making them realise how significant the issue was.

Giving something as an ongoing reminder is personal and long-lasting. One MP told us, ‘The wish stars now have pride of place in my office in Westminster’.

Britain Crafts

So when an MP receives an ‘I care’ sock or soap this week, they’ll be reminded of the 4 in 10 disabled people who receive social care support that does not meet their basic needs like washing or dressing. And each time they have a cup of tea and replace their mug on a coaster made by one of their constituents, they will be reminded of how this issue is important to that constituent – and that they have asked them to take action on their behalf.

This weekend, could you make sure your MP knows how much you care about social care? By spending half an hour creating a message, you can enjoy the benefits of crafting, really thinking about the issue AND proving to your MP that you really care about social care – and that you’re not going to stop at an email.

Everyone’s getting involved. Even the cast of Downton Abbey!

Ema, who is disabled and struggling to live the life she wants to lead without social care, is making a pencil case for her MP with ‘I Care’ beading. In her film she talks more about living what she describes as ‘a half-life’. As Ema says, ‘social care is worth fighting for’ and if that means decorating hundreds of bars of soap, we’re up for the challenge.

Writing 'I Care' on a card with soap nearby

Bradford shows its support for Scope’s Britain Cares Campaign

“I’m scared about my future. I don’t know if the support I need will be there when I am older.”

Bradford group pictureThese were the words of a disabled woman who attended the Bradford Cares launch. She echoes the concerns of many disabled people throughout the country who receive social care support and who have experienced reductions in levels of support or increased charges in recent years.

Bradford Cares was held on July 15 in the Bradford East constituency of David Ward MP, who organised the event:

The event was inspired by Scope’s Britain Cares Campaign which has attracted from the backing of people up and down the country eager to support the campaign by posting over 1000 “I care” photos onto our website and show how much they value the vital role good social care plays in the lives of millions of disabled people. By coming along to the event, the people of Bradford showed that they cared too.

The Bradford Cares Summit was attended by over 100 disabled and older people and representatives from DPOs. Participants had a chance to discuss their own experiences of social care and their concerns for the future. Guests were also able to browse the various stands for advice and information, and many took the opportunity to visit the Scope stand to find out more about Britain Cares and to have their photograph uploaded onto our website.

During the event there was a panel session offering the audience the opportunity to put forward their concerns on social care. I was there, representing Scope as the Community Campaigns Manager, along with David Ward, Paul Burstow the former Minister for Social Care and Keith Nathan, Chief Executive of Bradford and District Age UK.

There were many probing and difficult questions put to the panel on the future of social care. Some focused on funding, whilst others were concerned about tightening eligibility, fearing they would no longer qualify under the proposed National Eligibility framework.

As a wheelchair user I was fortunate to be able to speak of my first-hand experience of social care and as someone who has worked over a number of years on policy and campaigns to improve care provision.

People should be concerned about the future of social care but they should also welcome the fact that the topic is higher up the Government agenda than it has ever been before.

We need to engage more in effective dialogue with politicians and care providers. We need to use less of the jargon of ‘eligibility criteria’ and talk more about the difference the right support makes to someone’s life.

Why not hold your own Britain Cares event to show how much good social care means to your community? Contact us at hello@britaincares.co.uk

Six talking points from the Spending Review

Young disabled man outdoors with personal assistant

1. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Good news? Okay… the Chancellor has announced a £3.8 billion investment – including £2 billion of new money – in social care: the support disabled people get from their council to get up, get washed and dressed, and live independently.

The official document says, “This shared pot includes an additional £2 billion from the NHS and builds on the existing contribution of around £1 billion in 2014–15, with the aim of delivering better, more joined-up services to older and disabled people, to keep them out of hospital and to avoid long hospital stays”.

Here’s why this cash is welcome. The social care system is on its knees. Cash-strapped councils have been upping the bar for support eligibility, with 83% of councils now setting the threshold at a higher level. According to London School of Economics 69,000 disabled people have been pushed out of the system.

At the same time councils are squeezing the support for those that are in the system. A Scope survey found almost 40% of disabled people who continue to receive social care support are not having their basic needs met including eating properly, washing, dressing or being able to get out of the house.

Take away the preventative support and people fall into crisis. Have a listen to Angela Murray explain why social care is so important to her.

2. The ‘how’ is really important

Given that we now also know that councils are facing a further 10% cut in their budgets, a crucial piece of detail is how the cash gets to frontline social care. ADASS have said that previous injections of cash have instead disappeared into the black-hole of council budgets.

The documents talk about pooled budgets and NHS money being made available to councils through ‘local health and care systems’, which – in an exclusive for the HSJ – Jeremy Hunt explains will be achieved through Health & Wellbeing Boards. A cross-part panel of MPs and Peers recently argued that this would give it a better chance of reaching the people that need it. The official document explains that the Government is “putting £3.8 billion in a single pooled budget for health and social care services to work more closely together in local areas, based on a plan agreed between the NHS and local authorities”.

3. Britain Cares about social care

Today’s spending review announcement follows six months of campaigning. The innovative Stephen Fry-backed Britain Cares campaign, has seen over 25,000 people contact their MP about social care for disabled people – a thousand of who have sent personalised photos to show they care.

At the same time a young disabled woman from Luton – and former volunteer of the year – Angela launched a petition on Change.org which has received more than 45,000 signatures. She handed it in to 11 Downing Street on Monday.

4. But don’t celebrate just yet

The crucial question is now who gets care and who doesn’t. The announcement comes as the Care Bill is debated in the Lords over the coming week. The reforms seek to tackle the crisis in care by introducing a cap on costs, a new means-testing threshold and national eligibility to end the postcode lottery in care.

But under the current  plans – reiterated in the Spending Review – the Government will raise the bar for eligibility to social care to a level which London School of Economics (LSE) says will leave 105,000 disabled people with significant needs outside of the system altogether. They need that support to live independent lives. Without it, they are left isolated and in crisis.

5. And the really bad news…

The Government was briefing that there would be no further cuts on welfare. But that’s exactly what a cap on so-called Annually Managed Expenditure could mean. AME is Government spending which includes welfare and state pension bills. The Government is capping about half the budget. The Chancellor confirmed this will definitely include benefits for disabled people.

This means that regardless of how many disabled people need financial support, if the public finances take another nose dive, the Government could pull the plug on support for disabled people just when they really need it. This is ludicrous. Some disabled people will always need financial support. It doesn’t make them scroungers or skivers.

6. But let’s end on a positive note

The Chancellor committed to continue to spend £350m on employment support for disabled people. This mainly funds Access to Work and Work Choice. This support is especially important when you consider the growing consensus that the Work Programme (not linked to this funding) isn’t effectively supporting disabled people and ESA claimants. This will come to a head when the DWP publishes performance statistics for the Work Programme on Thurs June 27th.  It’s becoming ever more clear we need new solutions for getting disabled people into work.

With every Spending Review there’s is a lot to take in. But at a time when the Government is bringing in £11.5bn of cuts, an investment of £3bn into local support for disabled people is certainly good news.

The social care system is on its knees

Wednesday’s Spending Review provides the Government with an opportunity to start solving our care crisis. Scope’s chief executive Richard Hawkes asks on the New Statesman blog: what is the Chancellor going to do?

“Properly funded social care is now a ‘no brainer’.

By acting decisively the Chancellor can go a long way to solving the social care crisis, protect A&Es, and save cash across government departments. It’s a triple win.

But the Government will only be able to claim that it’s solved the social care crisis once it has decided who is in and who is out of the system.”

Read the full blog post

Ed Miliband’s welfare speech: three talking points

Ed Miliband has given a high-profile speech on welfare. The BBC’s headline is that Labour would cap social security spending. But underneath the soundbite the speech covered a lot of ground. The Scope policy team considers what it might mean for disabled people:

1. Investing in better employment support will bring down benefit expenditure

Successive Governments have recognised that supporting more disabled people into work can bring down social security spending. But too many programmes have had the wrong focus. Scope has long been clear that the Work Capability Assessment doesn’t work; our figures show that only 1,000 disabled people have got a job through the Work Programme. Ed Miliband is right to make this a big issue when it comes to welfare. But he needs to be clear that the reason unemployment is high for disabled people is because there are barriers to the labour market and a lack of appropriate jobs – not because disabled people don’t want to work.

We need to assess what the barriers disabled people face actually are rather than focusing on whether someone is medically able to stand up in the shower.

And we need to make sure those barriers are met through a programme of support that works for disabled people and finds jobs that they actually want, rather than pushing them into low-pay, low-skill jobs that only work in the short term.

Here’s Scope’s thinking on improving employment support for disabled people.

2. Spending money on social care can reduce broader public spending

Ed Miliband wants to cap something called Annually Managed Expenditure (AME), public spending that fluctuates with the economy. Welfare spending is the main chunk of this, and this is the basis for the ‘cap welfare’ headlines.

Social care doesn’t come from this budget. But there’s a crucial link here. If disabled people don’t have the right support to get up, dressed and out of the house in the morning, they won’t be able to play a part in their community and the wider economy.

With the right support, disabled people will be able to to contribute more to the economy, creating savings in social security expenditure and generating tax revenues.

Rather than capping Annually Managed Expenditure (AME), Labour should invest in areas like social care that could make real savings across the whole of public services – not just welfare.

Scope’s research shows that for every £1 spent on support, £1.30 comes back into society – and 28p of this saving is directly reduces AME.

3. Some disabled people will always need benefits.

Miliband said: “We should also support disabled people. Those who cannot work. And those who want to work and need help finding it.”

This is really important, because disabled people will be concerned about the impact on their support of combining a shift to a ‘contributory welfare’ system and a cap on AME. Hopefully this means that when it comes to disabled people, Labour’s starting point won’t be “How much money do we have?”, but rather “What kind of support we need to provide?”

And hopefully the result will be plans for making this a better place for disabled people.

Funding the care system

The social care system is in crisis.

The Government’s response – the Care Bill – is being scrutinised in the Lords. It seeks to tackle the crisis in care by introducing a cap on costs, a new means-testing threshold and national eligibility to end the postcode lottery in care.

The benefits of taking action are almost self-evident – imagine not being able to get up, get dressed and get out of the house.

But getting a system that works costs cold, hard cash and in an age of austerity that’s in short supply.

In recent years hard-up councils have tightened their criteria, meaning that disabled people might need more frequent hospitalisation, be unable to continue living in their own home, more likely to experience depression and fall into debt or lead a less healthy lifestyle.

Does that mean we will be stuck with a persistently underfunded system with an ever-tightening rationing of resources? Not necessarily.

Cash on the table

As reported in the Financial Times, five leading disability charities have revealed that the economic benefits from government investment in social care for disabled people are substantial. We can break the downward spiral.

Through advice and support for everyday activities from budgeting, and communication to help in the home the study found we all benefit from preventing disabled people’s care needs increasing and relying on more costly public services.

Earlier this year, the five charities lifted the lid on the scale of the crisis revealing that care for disabled people was underfunded by £1.2 billion. The case for plugging that gap just became even stronger.

Money talks

The debate on how we fund social care has – ahead of the government spending review on June 26 – is a hot topic.

Government plans are backed up by a recent announcement about greater integration between health and social care. The proposals include making joined-up and co-ordinated health and care the norm by 2018 and agreeing a definition of what people say good integrated care and support looks and feels like.

Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham waded in over the weekend when he said, “Labour would invest £1.2bn over the next two years to ease the crisis in social care – tackling a root cause of the pressure on A&E.”

With pressure on A&E’s hitting the headlines, Clare Gerada, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs said: “And the elephant in the room, we don’t have enough social care beds and social care facilities so patients can be looked after in more appropriate places.”

A recent inquiry comprising a cross-party panel of MPs and Peers, led by Baroness Campbell, a well-known disabled peer, and Heather Wheeler, an influential Tory MP, called on the Government to use NHS cash to help fund social care to fix a system that is devastating lives.

The case for a properly funded social care is gathering momentum.

A Care Bill that does not go hand in hand with extra funding is at risk of failing the millions of people who rely on care in their day-to-day lives. The economic case for action is now as compelling as the human one.

Scope supporters and shoppers show Britain cares

As the numbers of views of the Britain Cares campaign film fly past the 100,000 mark, the photo actions grow each day and the I Care actions get ever more creative, you may wonder if the Britain Cares team could sit back and take a breather. Not for a minute! And now more than 26,000 people have taken part in the campaign.

At this crucial time to influence the Government to ensure that disabled people get the social care they need – the reality is far from relaxing. Over the past few weeks the flurry of energy for Britain Cares has been magnified all around the country, as Scope customers have been signing campaign cards in their thousands across our 235 shops. It’s fantastic to see so much support for this crucial campaign.

For the past two weeks, Scope shoppers have been invited to choose a postcard and send it to their MP. There are six card designs, each representing a different area of life that social care makes possible for some disabled people, ranging from the essentials like getting washed and dressed to being able to leave the house to meet family or go to work. Things that many of us may take for granted, until we consider life without them.

Leslee Welman, manager of Exmouth’s Scope shop, has been busy speaking to customers about the Britain Cares campaign and collecting hundreds of signed postcards. She told us how brilliant it has been to see such a lot of support for the campaign from her customers:

“It’s been really positive so far. It’s wonderful to see our customers so passionate about this issue and able to take action by signing a campaign card. They’re really keen to do anything they can to support the campaign, and of course Scope. I’ve spoken to many of my customers who are personally affected by changes to social care and therefore this is really important to them.”

All the signed cards are now on their way to Westminster, to call on MPs to take action and ensure that social care is funded in the upcoming Spending Review and that disabled people get the right support to live their lives.

If you are one of the thousands of people who have already signed a Britain Cares card in a Scope shop – thank you for your support. Please stay involved, and visit www.britaincares.co.uk for the many ways you can continue to show you care.