An announcement by disability charity Scope that i

first_imgAn announcement by disability charity Scope that it will sell all its residential homes and special schools, and re-position itself as a “social change organisation”, is an attempt to invade the ground occupied by disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), say critics.The shake-up appears to be designed to distance the non-user-led charity from its roots as a provider of segregated services for disabled people.But one disabled activist said the decision would mean Scope would “hoover up some of the money” currently going to DPOs, and probably put the futures of many of them at risk.Another said the move was just an attempt by Scope to “reposition itself in the marketplace”, and compared the charity to “an old pig wearing new lipstick”.Scope’s new strategy will cut its income by 40 per cent – it was £99.5 million in 2015-16 – and reduce its workforce by two-thirds, by selling off 50 services across England and Wales, including care homes, and special schools and colleges, to other service-providers.The money from these sales will be re-invested in new services and products, which it says will “help support disabled people and their families from an early age, to live independently and to get and stay in employment”.Mark Atkinson, Scope’s chief executive, announced the strategy in an article published by the think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC).Atkinson said the world had “moved on” since the charity was founded in 1952 – as The Spastics Society – by three parents of children with cerebral palsy and a social worker, and that Scope had been left with “a patchwork of different services that had been established over seven decades” and now reached just a few thousand people.He said the charity needed to take “radical” steps if it wanted to “become relevant to a far larger proportion of the 13 million disabled people in the UK”.Its services will now focus on providing information, advice and support, mostly delivered online, while it would also concentrate on campaigning and seeking to influence public policy.A Scope spokesperson said services would be paid for by “a broad base of funders, including corporate partners, trusts and foundations, individual donors and our network of shops”, as well as “tens of thousands of very committed supporters who we are confident will continue to support our work in the future”.Although Scope said it would not seek any employment contracts under the government’s new Work and Health Programme, it “may still seek and receive government funding for some specific areas of work, like research, on a case by case basis”.And instead of taking part in the Work and Health Programme, Scope said it would build on its “current range of independent, specialist, personalised employment support services”.Last October, Scope backed the government’s new work, health and disability green paper, with Atkinson praising it for setting out “bold ideas for reform” in the Department for Work and Pensions’ own press release.This allowed work and pensions secretary Damian Green to claim in the House of Commons that criticism of the green paper – which has been heavily-criticised by disabled activists – was “completely out of touch with those who represent disabled people”.Atkinson said in the article that he wanted the charity to “focus on the areas in which disabled people face the greatest barriers and move away from being a charity that ‘does’ to one that ‘facilitates’”, creating a platform “that allows disabled people, through Scope, to drive change” and so move “ever closer to everyday equality”.These words are similar to the slogan used by the DPO Disability Rights UK (DR UK), which describes itself as “disabled people leading change, working for equal participation for all”.Atkinson’s article has raised concerns among some disabled activists that Scope wants to establish itself as the leading voice on disability, and will crowd out disabled people’s user-led organisations with far fewer resources.When asked if there was an argument for saying that there was no reason for Scope to continue to exist at all, and that it should pass all its resources to DPOs, the spokesperson said: “As our strategy, developed with disabled people and their families, makes clear, life is still too tough for many disabled people.“We believe that disabled people should have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we’ll be here.“Scope will continue to work closely with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations and continue to put disabled people at the heart of everything that we do.“We believe that we can achieve more by working together than we can alone.”Prominent disabled activists have so far delivered a mixed response to Scope’s announcement.Dr Theo Blackmore, an independent researcher, welcomed Scope’s move away from segregated provision, but he said its latest rebrand was “a clear attempt to move yet further into the ground that is occupied by the many much smaller DPOs that exist across the country.“Scope, as a consequence, will undoubtedly hoover up some of the money that is currently going to these much smaller groups, and will probably imperil many of them.”He said there was still a place for an organisation to work with and support families of disabled children, according to Scope’s original purpose.But he said there was also a place for organisations run and controlled by and employing disabled people.He said Scope and other large disability charities had often fought hard for government and council contracts, often against DPOs, “depriving these much smaller organisations of disabled people of much needed funding” and leading many of them to close.He said the latest changes would “again see Scope in competition with DPOs” but that nowhere in its announcement did it say that it would increase the number of disabled people it employed or had on its board of directors.He added: “Scope is an organisation with an annual income in the region of £100 million.“With this much spending power and clout it is easy to see how much of a threat Scope, and other large disability charities, are to DPOs.“If they, and the other major disability charities, really wanted to make a difference to the lives of we disabled people they could work out how they could better work with DPOs, to strengthen the voice of disabled people at the local level by shifting some of their enormous income to support these local organisations.”Kamran Mallick, the new chief executive of DR UK, said he welcomed the Scope changes “and the principles that underlie them”.But he added: “The best, most effective, lasting change comes when it’s driven by disabled people.“That doesn’t mean that other organisations, concerned about the rights of disabled people, have no impact at all.“Any organisation which aims to be more relevant to disabled people is a good thing and organisations become more relevant if they are driven by the voices of those with lived experience.“This is central to the disabled people’s movement, however that alone doesn’t make them disabled people’s organisations.“We’d like all charities concerned about disability issues to be run by and for disabled people, which includes not just disabled trustees but senior managers and other staff.”Lorraine Gradwell, former chief executive of the Manchester-based DPO Breakthrough UK, said the changes appeared to be about “offloading sections of the business that are falling out of favour or failing to make money, dressed up as a change of mission and direction”.She said: “This would be fine if the links with disabled people and their organisations were outlined, and Scope could show how they’ve worked with DPOs to lay out their mission and design their strategy.”But she said Scope did not appear to have done this and instead had “looked inwards”, and although it may have consulted individual disabled people, there was “no evidence they’ve reached out to organisations”.She said Scope was “trying to reposition itself” and possibly “establish fresh credentials”, and was attempting to establish itself as “a leading voice” on disability, and has “probably got the resources to do it”.She added: “I also think a lot of DPOs would be quite willing to work with Scope, and they have said so in the past.”Bob Williams-Findlay (pictured), a former chair of the British Council of Disabled People, who has written previously of his experiences attending a residential school run by The Spastics Society, said he was deeply distrustful of Scope’s announcement.He said he saw it as an extension of the new form of disability politics that emerged from New Labour in the 1990s, which “exploited the language and concepts of the social model of disability and transformed them into tools for the neoliberal agenda of commodifying disabled people’s lives”.He pointed out that Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, was head of the (New Labour) Number 10 Policy Unit and senior adviser to the prime minister on the economy from 2007 to 2010.Williams-Findlay said Scope’s talk of “transformation”, “social change”, and “addressing disabled people’s barriers” reminded him of the hypocrisy of disability charities that took part in the Hardest Hit campaign, when they “had their feet on the streets and noses in the government’s feed”.He said: “What Scope says and what it does are often at odds with each other – look at their embarrassingly pathetic End The Awkward campaign.“Why would disabled people trust a charity like Scope with a history like theirs?”He added: “Atkinson’s statement cherry picks their history, still ignoring the charity’s oppressive role up to the present day.“This shift is not just yet another rebranding exercise, it is an attempt by Scope to re-position itself in the market place and with an array of digital outputs.“I repeat, why would disabled people trust a charity like Scope; an old pig wearing new lipstick?”last_img read more

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Organisers of a national summit meeting of disab

first_imgOrganisers of a national “summit meeting” of disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), grassroots campaigns and trade unions hope it will “reinvigorate” the disability movement.The National Disabled People’s Summit is being funded by unions, and co-organised by the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance.Organisers of the summit say there is a need to explore how to co-ordinate resistance and organise joint campaigning in the wake of years of austerity measures that have targeted disabled people.They point to the report in August of the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which concluded that cuts to social protection in the UK had caused a “human catastrophe” for disabled people.At least 24 different organisations and campaigns are already signed up to take part in the summit in central London on 4 November.Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s new shadow minister for disabled people, is set to attend, and is likely to speak briefly, along with Ellen Clifford, from Inclusion London, and Bob Williams-Findlay, a former chair of the British Council of Disabled People.But the focus of the event will be workshops on areas such as independent living, social security, accessible transport and inclusive education, where participants will try to agree plans for campaigns, and aim “to inspire concrete activity that will lead to real change”.One reason for the summit is to try to identify disabled people who can take a lead on campaigning, following a year in which the movement has lost some of its key figures, including Debbie Jolly, Sophie Partridge, Robert Dellar and Eleanor Firman.Clifford, Inclusion London’s campaigns and policy manager, said: “In terms of losing key campaigners, the last year’s been really awful and it has really had an impact on capacity.”She added: “The summit won’t appeal to everyone because the position behind it is a clear anti-austerity one that not every single Deaf and disabled person or disability organisation may subscribe to.“The aim is to build new alliances between all those who want to fight neoliberal attacks on our rights and to reinvigorate our movement for change.“I am really excited about people working together who have not worked together or campaigned together before.”She said: “Over the past year in particular we have lost a number of experienced and committed activists.“We need to empower new campaigners to get involved and gain the confidence to take and lead collective action that can not only bring about the reversal of damaging cuts but also go forward in creating a society founded on principles of fairness and social justice, equality and human rights for all.”DNS reported last month how the idea for the summit came after Mandy Hudson – who represents disabled teachers on the new National Education Union – and colleagues on the TUC’s disabled workers’ committee, realised how many disabled people were having to fight individually to secure the support they needed to live independently, and decided it was “time for a more strategic view”.The summit is taking place at the headquarters of the National Education Union in Mabledon Place, near Euston and King’s Cross stations.Attendance is free, and can be booked online.last_img read more

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Userled groups met this week to discuss how to tu

first_imgUser-led groups met this week to discuss how to turn back the tide of closures of organisations run and controlled by disabled people and service-users.Research shows the number of user-led groups continuing to fall, due to austerity cuts and other trends affecting their funding.The closures mean user-led organisations have a “diminishing” voice in opposing oppressive policies, according to a briefing released ahead of the meeting.The closures are leading to a loss of a collective voice for disabled people, and the knowledge, peer support and advocacy that user-led organisations provide, the briefing said.The meeting was organised by two national networks of user-led groups, the National Survivor User Network (NSUN) and Shaping Our Lives (SOL).Professor Peter Beresford (pictured), SOL’s co-chair and one of the organisers of the meeting, said: “What was powerful was the strength of feeling at the meeting, which drew together a very diverse range of disabled people and service-users, with very clear messages.“The allocation of funding must be changed to stop discriminating against user-led organisations and to secure their future; they are crucial as the most direct voice for people increasingly marginalised under our politics.“Most shocking of all, participants made clear that nobody would fund a black organisation led by white people, a women’s organisation led by men or an LGBTQ organisation led by heterosexuals, yet the king-size portion of money in our field goes to organisations which are the absolute equivalent – dominated by non-disabled people and their agendas.“It must change and soon, before it’s too late.”Both NSUN and SOL have produced research showing the number of members falling sharply in the last three years.Initial findings from NSUN’s latest survey show that user-led organisations are often “overstretched” and forced to rely on the goodwill of volunteers and unpaid staff. The user-led organisations that took part said securing funding was “increasingly difficult”, with small user-led organisations increasingly losing out on contracts to large, non-user-led charities.NSUN was also told that austerity, funding cuts and “the nonsense of the benefits system” were having a devastating impact on the lives of individual disabled people. The briefing paper for this week’s meeting said that the “diminishing voice” of user-led organisations meant there was less opposition locally and nationally to “oppressive policies”.It said that many user-led organisations were suffering from “severe” cuts to local government funding, which had affected grants from local authorities.This problem had been “intensified” by the trend of awarding large contracts to national private sector organisations to manage smaller contracts, with user-led organisations often then being asked to deliver the same service for a “much reduced budget”.Those user-led organisations that do still receive funding from local authorities often feel pressured not to speak out about damaging cuts to services because of their fear of losing contracts.Grants that are available from trusts and foundations often focus on project funding, leaving user-led organisations struggling to finance their core running costs.But the briefing paper also warned that the individuals involved in setting up and growing user-led organisations were themselves experiencing “some of the worst deprivation, poverty and life chances in our communities”.It added: “Their resilience and ability to struggle both personally and on behalf of others is now greatly diminished.”A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

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With plastic straw ban looming restaurants scramble to find alternatives

first_img Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Email Address A month after San Francisco passed a citywide plastic straw ban in July, brothers Alberto and Pablo Hernandez opened a boba tea shop on 24th and Mission. At the bottom of boba beverages sit chewy tapioca balls, that drinkers of the popular beverage suck up using wide plastic straws. The new law presented a problem for the brothers’ new business, Identitea.“We are trying to remove the plastic straws from the store as soon as possible,” Alberto said.San Francisco is one of the only cities in the United States to ban plastic straws. In the coming year, California will become the first state to prohibit restaurants from offering customers plastic straws when AB 1884 goes into effect January 1, 2019. The bans were spurred by the growing amounts of plastic waste found in oceans. Five trillion plastic pieces—including plastic straws—are floating in the ocean, according to one study.“Sometimes you need a change in the law to spark a change in the industry,” said Supervisor Katy Tang, who came up with the idea for the ban after realizing that people use plastic straws just once before throwing them away.center_img Though well-intentioned, the ban is creating challenges for hundreds of San Francisco businesses that rely on plastic straws to sell their products. The law sent boba tea stores, as well as juice bars, coffee shops and restaurants scrambling to find alternatives before the city’s July 1, 2019, deadline.At La Cumbre Taquería on 16th Street and Valencia, the restaurant is organizing a meeting next week to decide what they’ll replace place straws with. The owner is also offering employees the chance to take a recycling course to learn more about how to help the environment.At Mercado Brasil, a Brazilian market and café at  24th and Valencia, restaurant owners said they are used to adapting to new demands — like customers who request paper cups, not plastic.But straws pose a new challenge: “I have to start buying paper straws, but they are way more expensive,” she said.San Francisco-based Eco-pliant is one of just a few U.S. companies that makes paper straws. Eco-pliant CEO Jimmy Lyons said he expects business to pick up as the date of the ban implementation nears.Eben Schwartz, who manages marine debris for the California Coastal Commission, said the ban will likely be as effective as the 2014 California ban on plastic bags, which helped reduce bag waste along the California coast from 8.7 percent of all coastal waste in 2015 to 1.2 percent in 2017, according to data from Coastal Clean Up day.“That is a huge drop,” Schwartz said.At Boba Guys, another boba tea shop on 19th Street and Lexington, 10-year-old customer Pomaikai Bohannan said she uses wooden straws at home. She also offered another alternative to plastic straws for Boba drinkers: a spoon.At Identitea, the Hernandez brothers decided to ask their customers what they wanted in place of plastic straws. The response: reusable ones. So, to satisfy their customers, they turned to their uncle in Taiwan to help them produce their own branded, brightly-colored stainless steel straws. For now, they plan to sell them for $3.75 a piece — and each straw will come with its own cleaning brush.And yes, Pablo said, they expect customers to bring their own straws every time they come. last_img read more

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JAMES Roby has been speaking about his third inclu

first_imgJAMES Roby has been speaking about his third inclusion in the Dream Team.The hooker was named in the side once again after a stellar season in the Red Vee.“It is a great honour to be part of the Dream Team and surrounded by such great players,” he said. “This year all the names are on the jerseys too and it is superb to be listed amongst some of the great players from the past.“Of course the St Helens players stand out for me on this shirt and it’s fantastic to be on this shirt with some of the players I used to admire growing up.“Every player doesn’t take individual accolades without thanking his teammates and I’m the same. They have helped me get this award and we all work hard for each other. It is a team effort at the end of the day.“We’ll need to have that spirit on Sunday. Games against Wigan are always massive games and to have it at the DW and it being a playoff makes it bigger. It will be a great spectacle and we want to turn up and bring our A game.“We’ve lost four times to Wigan and it’s not happened for a number of reasons this season. They have performed better than us and got the results. I’m not sure that really matters as the playoffs are a different competition. We can’t forget those defeats but we will be focussed for the game in hand.“We know if we lose we aren’t out and that is a weird situation. But we are going to the game to win it. We are under no illusion and know the task. We have had a full week to prepare and we want to put in a top performance.“The fans will travel over there in numbers and to do it for them would be brilliant.”last_img read more

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KEIRON Cunningham believes Huddersfield are in a f

first_imgKEIRON Cunningham believes Huddersfield are in a false position on the First Utility Super League table – but Saints can’t worry about the Giants’ form when the two sides meet this Sunday.It’s fourth v eleventh at the Magic Weekend in Newcastle with two points vital for both teams.“Huddersfield are playing well and are probably in a false position,” Keiron said. “They are similar to Leeds and if you take the Cas result (against Leeds) out of it you’d probably say both have been unlucky on a number of occasions.“Baloo (Paul Anderson) is working hard there and the boys are starting to get some belief at what they are doing. They went to Catalan and nearly rolled them so they will be on a high and coming into the game full of confidence. But we aren’t doing so badly either.“When we played in the rain at the beginning of the season we deserved to win the game. Our kicking game was very good that night. I have watched a lot of their games this season and I am shocked with where they are at. They’ve lost by a couple of points and not had the luck.“All we can do is take care of ourselves though. The Hull game wasn’t good and we had a vast improvement for the Salford match. We will try and improve again in those areas we are deficient in.“Magic does skew the table and can be a little unfair, but it is what it is. We have to showcase rugby league and push the boundaries. I enjoy the concept and playing there. Last year was a good game. We are looking forward to it.”KC reported no fresh injury concerns following the win over the Red Devils.Jonny Lomax, who came off in the second half of that game, is likely to be fit too.“Jonny coming off was a precaution and he is fine,” Keiron added. “Fingers crossed he will be fine for Sunday. Adam Swift came through ok too, whilst Shannon McDonnell has been ill but is ok now.“Nothing changes from where we are at and we know we need to keep on improving. You always have to improve and get better. We are working hard and hopefully we are heading in the right direction.“I like stability in the side, but if people aren’t holding up their end of the bargain then you have to look at it. There are plenty of people in the squad who are going to play plenty of rugby this year.“We have to try and find the best defensive team we can because we know we can score points.”Tickets for the Magic Weekend can be bought by popping into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.They go offsale at midnight tonight.last_img read more

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KEIRON Cunningham praised his sides effort on Sat

first_imgKEIRON Cunningham praised his side’s effort on Saturday as they defeated Catalans Dragons 28-24.“I thought our effort was outstanding,” he said. “I thought we were the better team and if we had not have won the game I think that would have been undeserved.“We had plenty of opportunities, we took plenty of them and wasted a few and I’m glad we brought the game home, It was a true gritty performance from the club.“We knew it was going to be tough; it has not been a happy hunting ground for us over here in France over a number of years. Things were stacked up against us after a couple of poor losses but I am proud of what the players did and I really think they deserved the win.“The game was open in the first half, there were lots of tries scored but both teams tightened up in the second.“Catalans had a good crack at it but I thought we were a little bit better tonight.”He added: “Theo has been brilliant since he came to the club. You forget how young he is, he still is a baby and lots of learning to do but he competes really hard.“Not only does he set up the match-winning try but he scrambles at the end to make a defensive play and saves a try.“There was a lot of fight from the club tonight.”last_img read more

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Push to slow down boaters in Southport requires public input

first_img(Photo: US Army Corps of Engineers) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Businesses like the Southport Marina, as well as the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and Brunswick County commissioners, want a No Wake Zone established along a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway in Southport.According to documents from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the No Wake Zone would encompass approximately 3,000 feet of the ICWW, between marker 1A and 2A along the Southport waterfront.- Advertisement – “If something is not put in place to slow the boating public down someone is going to be seriously injured or even killed due to the speeds and congestion,” Chief Deputy Charles Miller wrote in a letter to the US Army Corp of Engineers. “We are doing everything legally possible to prevent anything from happening and respectively request the approval and implementation of a No Wake Zone.”Over the summer, Brunswick County commissioners approved a resolution requesting the No Wake Zone.Businesses also claim the wakes have caused damage to their docks, as well as to the boats that dock at the Southport Marina.Related Article: Southport to accept, distribute suppliesIn 1993, the NC Legislature passed a bill that established a No Wake Zone in this section of the ICWW, but because this area is under the authority of the US Army Corps of Engineers, state law is pre-empted by federal authority.The latest request wants the US Army Corps of Engineers to install No Wake Zone signs along the channel and enforce it.The public is encouraged to comment for the next 30 days to consider and evaluate the impacts of the request.The deadline to submit comments is February 28.Comments may be mailed to Jim Medlock, of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, Wilmington, NC 28403.You can also send an email to aiwwcomments@usace.army.mil.last_img read more

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Holly Ridge VFW gets facelift ahead Independence Day

first_imgVolunteers from the military, the Topsail Island Longboard Association, members of the VFW and Home Depot came together to give the Holly Ridge VFW a facelift. (Photo: Cory Sydes) ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Just in time for the Forth of July, the Holly Ridge VFW is getting a facelift!Volunteers from the military, the Topsail Island Longboard Association, members of the VFW and Home Depot came together for the project.- Advertisement – Home Depot donated $17,000 worth of materials for demo, new flooring, appliances, new bathrooms, and fresh paint.Volunteers even found time to do some landscaping for the veterans.last_img

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Fundraiser gives people one last photo with Surf City Swing Bridge

first_img The Coastal Carolina Chapter of The Firefighter’s Burned Children Fund hosted an event to remember the bridge.On Sunday from noon to five, people came out to get their picture taken in front of the bridge by photographer David Allen.Kathleen Adams, who frequents Surf City, says the bridge will be missed.Related Article: Artist films music video at Trailer Bar in Surf City“I’m extremely sad to see it go. Like I said, you knew you were at the beach when you saw the bridge,” said Kathleen Adams. “And I volunteer with the sea turtle patrol out here on Topsail Island, so we would go over it back and forth, and the sound that it would make when you would go over it. It just all becomes a part of you and gets in your heart.”For a minimum donation of $10, people could have this lifetime memory.Firefighters raised more than $600 at the event. SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The Surf City community said their final goodbyes this weekend. Local firefighters hosted an event to give everyone a lasting memory of the Swing Bridge.Construction to take down the Surf City Swing Bridge has already begun.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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