Scope (charity)

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"Spastics Society" redirects here. For Spastics Society of India, see The Spastics Society of India.
Scope (charity) logo.png
Scope logo
Formation 1951
Headquarters London
Region served
England and Wales
Chief Executive
Mark Atkinson

Scope is a disability charity working with disabled people and their families in England and Wales. It runs support services such as schools, a college, residential care, training, short breaks and runs a helpline providing information and advice on disability.[1] Scope also campaigns for the full inclusion and equal participation of disabled people in society.[2]


It was founded as the National Spastics Society on 9 October 1951[3] by Ian Dawson-Shepherd, Eric Hodgson, Alex Moira and a social worker, Jean Garwood, with the aim of improving and expanding services for people with cerebral palsy.

From 1955 to 1989, the society ran the Thomas Delarue School, a specialist secondary boarding school at Tonbridge, Kent.[4] Scope still runs schools for disabled children in Hertfordshire,[5] West Sussex[6] and near Cardiff[7] as well as a Further Education College in Lancaster, which was founded in 1977.[8]

Over time, thanks in large part to the influence of Bill Hargreaves,[9] the first trustee with cerebral palsy, the charity’s aims extended to improving and expanding services for people with cerebral palsy and disabled people in general. Bill’s pioneering work in employment in the 1950s supported over 1,500 disabled people into their first jobs.[10] In 1962, he set up the 62 Clubs where disabled people could choose and control their own leisure activities. Through its employment services and inclusion teams, Scope continues to support disabled people to have the same opportunities as everyone else.

In 1963 it merged with the British Council for the Welfare of Spastics to become The Spastics Society. The Spastics Society provided sheltered workshops and day centres for people with cerebral palsy (commonly referred to as spastics at the time, despite spasticity being a symptom of only one variant of cerebral palsy), who were seen as being unemployable in mainstream society. The Society also provided residential units and schools, as well as opening a chain of charity shops.

In the 1980s, the term spastic became a general insult, partially because of the Blue Peter programmes following the life story of Joey Deacon in an attempt to show disability in a positive light during the International Year of Disabled Persons. Consequently, the society changed to its current name on 26 March 1994,[11] following a two-year consultation with disabled people and their families.[12]

In November 1996, Scope AGM voted in favour of an individual membership scheme to give a voice to the 20,000 people that Scope and its local groups are in contact with every year - the first major UK disability charity to do so. In 1998, Scope individual members voted in elections to Executive Council. However the first person with cerebral palsy to play a major managerial role was Bill Hargreaves, who had been elected to the Executive Council back in 1957.

In January 2012, Scope replaced its logo with a combination of more than 60 “visions of the future” created by disabled people, their friends and families.[13] Scope wants to make disability better understood by the public, at a time when attitudes towards disabled people are getting worse[14] and disabled people are struggling to get the support they need due to budget cuts.

With over 3,000 staff and an annual turnover of around £100 million, Scope continues to create independent living, education and employment opportunities for people with cerebral palsy and related impairments and to campaign for equality for all disabled people.


In 2004 Scope launched the Time to Get Equal campaign to banish disablism, which it defines as "discriminatory, oppressive or abusive behaviour arising from the belief that disabled people are inferior to others".[15]

The campaign had three aims:

  • To raise awareness of the problems and barriers faced by disabled people in their everyday lives
  • To demand an improvement in the attitudes and actions that disabled people experience
  • To build a mass movement of disabled and non-disabled people campaigning and working for equality.

In 2014 Scope ran a campaign called End The Awkward fronted by comedian Alex Brooker. The campaign used comedy to shine a light on the awkwardness that many people feel about disability. Alex appeared in three adverts guiding viewers through awkward situations that they may encounter with a disabled person.[16]

Patrons and celebrity supporters[edit]

Scope’s Patrons are Alastair Stewart, Cherie Booth, Richard Bradbury, Richard Herring and Sophie Morgan.

Celebrity supporters include Nicholas Hamilton, Paul Tonkinson, Ben Elton, Warwick Davis, Brian Blessed, Richard Whitehead, Karren Brady, Jeff Brazier, Cerrie Burnell, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Nick Hewer, Francesca Martinez, Sophie Christiansen, Bethy Woodward and Alex Brooker.


  1. ^ "Services". Scope. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Campaigns". Scope. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Davies, Chris (April 2001). "Beginnings". Changing Society: A Personal History of Scope (Formerly The Spastics Society) 1952-2002. Scope. p. 19. ISBN 0946828962. 
  4. ^ "TDS - The School". TDS. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Meldreth Manor". Ofsted. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Ingfield Manor". Ofsted. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Craig y Parc". Ofsted. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Beaumont College". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Hargreaves, Bill (2002). Can You Manage Stares?. Scope. ISBN 0946828954. 
  10. ^ Hargreaves, Bill (2002). "Chapter 7: Man of industry, 1957-62". Can You Manage Stares?. Scope. p. 70. ISBN 0946828954. 
  11. ^ Laurance, Jeremy (4 November 1994). "SPASTICS SOCIETY PUTS ITS FUTURE IN SCOPE". The Times (Times Newspapers Ltd). 
  12. ^ "CHARITY CHANGE - SPASTICS SOCIETY CHANGES NAME TO SCOPE". The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers Ltd). 27 March 1994. 
  13. ^ "Scope unveils user-generated brand identity". Marketing Week. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Poll Digest - Social - Scope Tracker Survey of Disabled People". ComRes. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Campaigns". 
  16. ^ "Two-thirds of us are uncomfortable talking to disabled people - because we fear we'll appear patronising". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 

External links[edit]