Tag Archives: stories

Our new Stories and Campaigns hubs

Do you love a good story? Are you passionate about campaigning?

You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve just launched new pages which will contain all of our latest and greatest content.

Stories and Campaigns are so important to the work that we do at Scope, so we’ve given them brand new homes on our website with their own hub pages.

Stories

Stories are at the heart of everything we do here at Scope. The brand new stories hub will be your gateway to all of the best blogs and stories content we produce.

From here, you’ll be able to see our latest stories, find out how to contact the team and tell us your very own experiences.

Keep a look out on this page to stay up to date with our latest stories campaigns and content.

Visit the Stories hub.

Get in touch with the stories team if you’d like to share your story.

A young man videos himself using a digital slr camera

Campaigns

We campaign on a local and national level to change attitudes and to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

From here, you will see opportunities to get involved and updates on our current campaigns including, End The Awkward, Scope for Change and School Role Models.

Visit the Campaigns hub.

Be sure to bookmark these pages and stay tuned for brand new stories and news on our campaigning work.

“It’s good to see people like you out and about…” #EndTheAwkward goes to the pub

We’ve been filming in a London pub this month for Scope’s End the Awkward campaign, and it got us thinking – pubs and nightclubs are the perfect breeding ground for awkwardness.Four people using filming equipment in a pub

Take a crowded bar and a little alcohol, and we end up doing and saying things we’d never dream of before sundown. If you’re disabled, that can often mean a whole new level of awkward.

We asked you for your stories…

More people were watching us than the gig – Kelly

I always get asked ‘why are you in a wheelchair?’ by strangers in bars. A lot of people assume I’ve had an accident – because I’m confident and outgoing, they can’t believe I’ve always used a wheelchair.

Kelly outside the pub talking to three other people
Kelly filming for our End the Awkward campaign earlier this month

At the Global Festival, my husband and I were backstage dancing, and more people were watching us dance than were watching the actual gig. They kept tapping me and trying to give me high fives.

People come over on a night out and tell me how much respect they have for me. Just because I’m having a night out! It drops a downer on us when we’re having a good night by saying ‘I’m really happy to see you’re going out.’

What’s wrong with you, then? – Ronnie

I have had many people walk up to me at a gig or in a pub and say, ‘What’s wrong with you then?’ Of course, when I reply I have cerebral palsy they sheepishly reply ‘Oh’, and then shuffle away awkwardly…

On a similar occasion in a pub, my friend Tom and I were chatting to a chap across the table from us. Suddenly, he said: ‘Well, it’s good to see people like YOU out and about!’ His girlfriend put her head in her hands and was hoping the ground would swallow her up.

Hope your friend’s okay… – Tom 

Man interviewing young woman on camera
Filming ‘awkward’ interviews in a London pub

Whilst in the university bar I was chatting to a woman; I was leaning against the bar. Things were going well until she asked me to dance on the lower dancefloor, which was down a flight of steps.

When I told her I couldn’t she looked bemused, so I pointed to my wheelchair and offered to dance near the bar. At this point she made an excuse about needing to find her friend who was really drunk, and left.

Some hours later, when I left the club, I saw her at the exit. When she saw me she looked horrified. I just said, ‘I hope your friend is okay…’

Have you had a skiing accident? – Edith

A friend and I visited a bistro in Sloane Square (I’d never been, we’d gone to people watch). She was pushing me in my wheelchair, and I was holding my crutches.

On entering, a rotund man with elbow patches saw me and bellowed ‘Ah! Have you had a skiing accident?’

‘Afraid not,’ I said, ‘I have MS.’ He only faltered for a few seconds before he replied, ‘…That must slow you down, eh?’ and turned back to his wine.

Have you had a similar experience? Send us your awkward stories, and we’ll publish our favourites on our blog and social media.

Find out more about Scope’s End the Awkward campaign.

Emotional support from Face 2 Face: Danielle’s story

“It’s hard when you’re on your own, and I felt like it was always going to be just me.”  Danielle

When I speak to parents of disabled children, there’s one theme that comes up again and again – so much of the time, there’s no one to talk to when things are tough.Danielle

Not long ago I met Danielle, who spent years struggling with her six-year-old son Aaron’s challenging behaviour. He was eventually diagnosed with autism, but for a long time nobody could tell her what was wrong.

“I can’t even emphasise how dark it was,” says Danielle.

“I’d go to work and I’d cry, I’d come home and I’d cry, I’d go to bed and I wouldn’t sleep for crying.

“I didn’t want to be here anymore. As awful as it sounds, if it wasn’t for Aaron I wouldn’t be here. I just kept saying to myself: he’s got nobody else.

“It was just an absolutely atrocious time. I wasn’t even leaving the house – I’d take Aaron to school, go to work, come home and we would stay in every night.”

Things changed for Danielle when she got involved in Scope’s Face 2 Face scheme, which matches parents with a trained befriender who has a disabled child, or children, of their own

Danielle’s befriender, Julie, offered unconditional emotional support – and a chance to talk, without fear of judgement, to someone who had been there already.

“It was having somebody for mDanielle and Aarone. When Julie comes round, she doesn’t turn round and say, ‘How’s Aaron doing?’ She says, ‘How are you doing, what’s going on with you?’ I think sometimes you need that,” Danielle says.

Julia, a Face 2 Face Coordinator, says some parents don’t always realise they might need emotional support.

“They’re doing all right, ‘why do they need it?’ It’s seen as a weakness: ‘I’m fine, I can manage’”, she says.

Julia’s 18-year-old daughter is disabled, and she was supported by the scheme herself before becoming a befriender and later, a co-ordinator.

“It (Face 2 Face) really supported me, having that place to go where I could talk about how painful things were, things I couldn’t say to anybody close to me, and that my friends couldn’t possibly understand. I’m mindful of that when I meet familiesDanielle and Aaron now,” Julia says.

For Danielle, it was the practical as well as emotional support from her befriender which made a difference. From her own experience as a parent, Julie suggested places Danielle and Aaron could go, and services on offer.

“Aaron and I go places now – we’ll go to farms, we’ll go to play centres and things like that, which I would’ve never have done before”, says Danielle.

“I never left the house, I was stuck with Aaron 24 / 7. Now I have a social life, Aaron’s got friends – I’m just a different person.”

Why we share stories

“Before, I didn’t feel like I was part of the world. I was zoning out a lot because I found it hard to focus. Now everything’s changed. Now, I feel I can do anything. Not quite invincible, but not far off!”

Jamie Love shared his story recently. The young man who goes to Scope’s Craig y Parc school is an aspiring actor. Jamie recently landed his first TV role as an extra on BBC’s Call the Midwife.

Thirty-nine year-old Alice was drinking to cope with the challenge of bringing up her two autistic boys. Then she got involved with Scope’s befriending service.

She wanted to share what it’s like to have disabled children, but also the difference it can make being able to talk to someone that’s been there before.

Alice holding hands with her sons and husband
Alice and her family

Personal stories like those of Jamie and Alice have the power to motivate, educate and inspire.

In 2014 life can be tough if you’re disabled or have a disabled child. Often it’s to do with a lack of understanding – what you might call ‘innocent ignorance’.

So, it’s important to let the world know what life is like if you’re disabled. And it’s really important that disabled people and their families tell these stories themselves.

Two years ago we introduced a new way of telling stories, which we’re really proud of.

Our aim is to make sure everyone here that talks in any way about disability – whether it’s a fundraiser, a campaigner or a front-line social worker, has the chance to include a disabled person or their parent talking talk about the issue in their own words.

We have a stories team of two, plus a network of ‘story champions’ throughout Scope. We do in-depth interviews with a host of people on a range of topics; from mums like Alice and students like Jamie, to Scope staff, volunteers and people who simply inspire us. We transcribe the interviews, make films and get to know our storytellers before encouraging the organisation to work with them if they’re talking about disability.

Angela, David and Ema’s stories inspired thousands to back better local support for disabled people. The moving story of Brett who ran the Brighton marathon wheeling his son Luke dampened eyes across the country and showed not only what’s involved in training for an event, but how Scope makes a difference. A story during Anti-bullying week of a disabled school girl had an incredible online response, as did this blog from Hayley, about raising the funds to buy her three-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy the right wheelchair.

Today marks the start of National Storytelling Week – an annual event celebrating and encouraging storytelling. As Scope’s Stories Manager I’m incredibly privileged to be able to meet many amazing people and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce some of them to you.

This week we will meet a new mum Marie, who has just had a new baby through a surrogate. Marie has brittle bone disease, meaning her bones break very easily.

Emily Yates, a 22-year-old woman, will share her story of travelling the world in a wheelchair and why writing an accessible guide to the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro means so much to her.

There will be an inspiring story from 19-year-old Michael, who has autism and recently started his dream career in public transport.

Sharing stories is fundamental to Scope achieving its vision of making this country a better place for disabled people, and I hope you enjoy the stories we will bring you this week.

I’ll leave you with the words of Rudyard Kipling: ‘If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.’

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That Awkward Moment

A new romcom ‘That Awkward Moment’ has got us thinking about disability and awkwardness.

On the Scope blog we regularly hear from disabled people about attitudes to disability.

It can be serious. 

But more often than not it’s what you could call innocent ignorance.

And the results can be comedy gold.

Nothing beats Adam Hill’s line from the opening show of The Last Leg.

“I had someone ask me, when I said I had an artificial right leg: ‘Can you still have sex?’ Yeeeeeaah?! What does your husband do? Take a run up?”

Here are some bloggers on their favourite awkward moments.

Blogger Wheeler Wife lists some of her favourite Awkward Wheelchair Moments.

“Passing people in the hallway who plaster themselves to the wall in an attempt to let you pass by. Just last week a 250+ pound construction worker dropped what he was working on and assumed a body search position against one wall with arms and legs outstretched, panicking that he had not created enough space for me to get by. “Oh, you’re ok, I can get by,” I replied.”

We also like this post about a train journey from Danny Housley, the Social Media Coordinator for disABILITY LINK.

“I’m sitting by the door, getting ready to head to an National Federation of the Blind meeting and these people across the aisle from me are staring, and I mean staring hard. I’m pretty sure they were looking so hard that my face was almost bruised.  Anyway, the mother/guardian of these people (they were mid to late teens) leans in and whispers for them to stop looking.  They didn’t. Instead, they start waving and making faces, at which point I lean over and say: “It’s gonna freeze like that.” They looked horrified and the mother nearly fell out of her seat laughing (and then immediately turned on them for a scolding).”

Finally, it’s not real, obviously, but we thought we’d also stick in Francesca Martinez’s appearance in Extras…the whole episode is one big awkward moment.

This year we’re going to be launching a new bid to make people think differently about disability – we think we need to start talking about why these moments become so awkward.

To kick things off, we want to hear your awkward disability moments. Let us know below: