Scope launches campaign for equality as half of disabled people feel excluded from society

Disability charity Scope has launched a campaign for equality and is urging everyone to show their support after new research revealed half of disabled people feel excluded from society.

The findings have been published today in a report by Scope which reveals how undervalued and disconnected from society many disabled people feel. Based on Opinium polling of 2,000 working age disabled adults, the research reveals:  

  • Two in five (41%) working age disabled people don’t feel valued by society
  • Less than half (42 per cent) think the UK is a good place for disabled people
  • Half of working age disabled adults (49 per cent) feel excluded from society because of their impairment or condition

Further research carried out by BritainThinks for Scope identified five priority areas that need to be improved – public attitudes; employment; care, support and social connections; transport; and access to digital technology;

The report contains five key recommendations to enable disabled people to have an equal chance to live the lives they choose:  

  • Attitudes: The Government’s disability strategy group should have an explicit objective to improve attitudes and reduce prejudice towards disabled people 
  • Work: Ensure disabled people can access specialist employment support on a voluntary basis, without it being a condition of receiving out-of-work benefits, and removing sanctions for disabled people 
  • Social care: Stabilise the existing system of support, social care must be reformed to meet the needs and aspirations of disabled people so that care and support better enables the ability to have a family life, work, engage with communities, and socialise. This can only happen if disabled people are involved at every stage of service design. 
  • Public transport: Public transport systems need to be reformed to ensure that disabled passengers are treated fairly and equally. Alongside improvements to accessibility, disabled people should be able to travel without fear of negative attitudes from staff and other passengers and have access to straightforward routes for recourse if things go wrong. 
  • Digital: Close the digital divide which exists today and ensure the next wave of digital innovation – what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution – includes disabled people as a core consumer group. 

Scope is calling on everyone – businesses, politicians and the public – to become Disability Gamechangers and share what they are doing to create equality for disabled people. 

Anyone working to challenge stigma and negative attitudes is a Disability Gamechanger. Change requires action at all levels in society and everyone can play their part. 

To mark the campaign launch, Scope’s partner Virgin Media has donated its multi-million pound shirt sponsorship of Southampton Football Club to Scope for Saturday’s match (August 25) against Leicester City FC. Instead of the usual Virgin Media logo, the home team will wear a kit sporting the Scope logo. 

Scope has also released a 60-second film charting the story of equality and human rights movements across the decades to inspire everyone to join the campaign. By working with others to build on the rich history of the disability rights movement, Scope wants the next chapter of the story to be about making equality for disabled people a reality. (link to video) 

The video is narrated by the charity’s Patron, TV presenter and award-winning disability rights campaigner Sophie Morgan, who was paralysed from the chest down in a car crash aged 18. 

Anna Bird, Executive Director of Policy and Research at disability charity Scope, said: 

“It’s a glaring injustice that half of disabled people feel excluded from our society. 

“In the past century, we’ve seen action lead to dramatic changes in our society, but there is still a long way to go until all disabled people have an equal chance to live the lives they choose, free from barriers and low expectations. 

“From poor attitudes to lack of focus from Government, and from being overlooked in the workplace to being humiliated on public transport, life for many disabled people is still much tougher than it needs to be. It’s time that changed. 

“This report and campaign are a call to action to anyone who supports disability equality. We’re urging everyone – Government, businesses, disabled people and non-disabled people – to become Disability Gamechangers and work together to achieve equality and fairness for disabled people.” 

Max Stainton, 27, from London has cerebral palsy and holds the world record for trekking to Base Camp on Mt Everest, on horseback.

“Disabled people are capable of incredible things.

“But perceptions around disability can be really negative. People assume so many things about what disabled people can or can’t do.

“Society assumes we have very little potential, but actually it’s because we’re not supported, or we aren’t given an equal chance to reach our potential.

“If we work together we can change that, so all disabled people can achieve their ambitions.”

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