Scope has launched its Disability Equality Awards to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of individuals, community groups, businesses and role models, who are all playing a part in championing disability equality and inclusion.
In 2022 Scope marks its landmark 70th anniversary but believes there is still a long way to go before we achieve true equality for disabled people. Scope is concerned that the pandemic has set back public attitudes towards disability.
Research carried out by Scope during the pandemic found:
- 3 in 4 disabled people believe public’s perceptions of disabled people have either worsened or not shifted during pandemic
- One in three (28 per cent) think disabled people are seen more as being a burden
- One in five (21 per cent) believe there is less understanding towards disabled people among the general public since the pandemic began
The Scope Disability Equality Awards will shine a spotlight on the equality champions who are at the forefront of tackling prejudice and misconceptions. It is hoped that in celebrating their stories, these Awards will inspire the next generation of campaigners.
The 8 categories for the Scope Disability Equality Awards are:
- Purple pioneer: This category honours an individual, or a group of people, who have been nominated by others for their achievements around disability equality. This could be either a disabled person or a non-disabled ally who has raised awareness of disability issues or changed attitudes in their community. Rather than a specific campaign, this category recognises the work people have done that has positively affected those directly around them.
- Campaign: This award recognises a ground-breaking and impactful campaign aimed at achieving disability equality. The campaign can have taken place on a local or national level and can have been an in-person, marketing or online campaign.
- Young campaigner: This category recognises a young disabled person (up to 25 years old) who is speaking out and taking action on an issue that affects them. This could be to improve accessibility or attitudes, for example within their community, school, college, university or beyond. Just like with the campaign category, this includes both online and in-person campaigning.
- Accessible organisation: This category rewards organisations for inclusion and accessibility. This could be for creating an inclusive workplace or for developing products and services with accessibility and disabled people in mind.
- Media moment: This award recognises a media moment involving disabled people that has had a powerful impact on championing disability equality. This could be a soap or drama storyline, entertainment TV show, film, podcast or any other mainstream format that has helped shift attitudes on disability.
- Journalist: This award recognises an individual journalist (print, broadcast or online) who has gone above and beyond with a piece of investigative reporting, or who has shown strong commitment to disability equality through a sustained body of work.
- Role model: This award is presented to a disabled public figure who has used their platform to campaign for disability equality and change attitudes. Role models could be celebrities, social media influencers or professional leaders with a substantial reach. We’re particularly interested in how they have engaged their social media following and networks to achieve change.
- Scope lifetime achievement award: As Scope turns 70 this year, we honour a disabled person who has spent their life fighting for disability equality. To qualify for this category, the person needs to demonstrate how they have been dedicated over a significant and sustained period to the goal of bringing about change for disabled people or shifting attitudes around disability.
One of the most exciting aspects of the awards, is that it’s being co-produced with disabled people. From selecting the categories, defining the criteria to the production of the ceremony, disabled people will be designing how this event is delivered.
Nominations for the Scope Disability Equality Awards will close on Friday 29 April and the shortlist will be announced in June. The Awards will be judged by an independent panel of leading public and professional figures from the disability community.
Successful entrants will be invited to join a ‘hybrid’ celebration event in Autumn 2022.
Alison Cowan, Scope’s Executive Director of Fundraising and Engagement said:
“As we mark Scope’s 70th anniversary this year, there’s still so much more to do to achieve a society where all disabled people enjoy equality and fairness.
“In our communities, in our workplaces and online, disabled people still face a barrage of negative attitudes. Disabled peoples’ ambitions, talent and potential go unrecognised.
“While society has changed dramatically since 1952, for disabled people, many of the same prejudices and barriers still exist today. And the pandemic has exacerbated many of those barriers.
“But there are some incredible people who over the last two years have been fighting for change, standing up for their rights and calling out outdated attitudes about disability.
“We hope the Disability Equality Awards will recognise the fantastic work being done by so many individuals and organisations to bring about social change, and we hope their stories will inspire the next generation.”