Scope (charity)

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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 West Sussex[5] and near Cardiff[6] as well as a Further Education College in Lancaster, which was founded in 1977.[7]

Over time, thanks in large part to the influence of Bill Hargreaves,[8] 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.[9] In 1962, he set up the 62 Clubs where disabled people could choose and control their own leisure activities. Through its employment services, 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.

The term spastic was long used as a general playground insult. In the 1980s, this became more charged, 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 to Scope on 26 March 1994,[10] following a two-year consultation with disabled people and their families.[11]

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.[12] Scope has since changed the logo. Scope wants to make disability better understood by the public, at a time when attitudes towards disabled people are getting worse[13] 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 all disabled people 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".[14]

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.

Scope’s End The Awkward campaign continued in 2015[15] when they teamed up with Channel 4[16] to run a series of short films entitled What Not to Do, which exemplified how not to behave in situations including a blind date, a job interview and at the hairdressers. They also created an A-Z of sex and disability.[17]

In 2016 Scope worked with creative agency George & Dragon on a TV ad[18] to launch their third year of End The Awkward, where they introduced their H.I.D.E. concept. The mnemonic which stands for: Say 'Hi'; Introduce yourself ; Don't panic; End the Awkward, was also featured in films created with Unilad.


  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. ^ "Ingfield Manor". Ofsted. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Craig y Parc". Ofsted. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Beaumont College". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Hargreaves, Bill (2002). Can You Manage Stares?. Scope. ISBN 0946828954. 
  9. ^ Hargreaves, Bill (2002). "Chapter 7: Man of industry, 1957-62". Can You Manage Stares?. Scope. p. 70. ISBN 0946828954. 
  10. ^ Laurance, Jeremy (4 November 1994). "SPASTICS SOCIETY PUTS ITS FUTURE IN SCOPE". The Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. 
  11. ^ "CHARITY CHANGE - SPASTICS SOCIETY CHANGES NAME TO SCOPE". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. 27 March 1994. 
  12. ^ "Scope unveils user-generated brand identity". Marketing Week. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Poll Digest - Social - Scope Tracker Survey of Disabled People". ComRes. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Campaigns". 
  15. ^ "How to behave with disabled people: A new guide tells you what to do". The Independent. 2015-08-03. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  16. ^ "Channel 4 and Scope partner for Shorts series starring Alex Brooker - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  17. ^ UK, Natasha Hinde Lifestyle Writer at The Huffington Post (2015-10-30). "People With Disabilities Share Sex Stories To End Stigma Once And For All". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  18. ^ "'Hide' When You See a Disabled Person, Says U.K. Charity Ad - Video - Creativity Online". Retrieved 2016-10-14. 

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