The winners of the first Scope Disability Equality Awards have been announced, with those honoured including Baroness Jane Campbell DBE, Rose Ayling-Ellis and the British Deaf Association.
The Scope Disability Awards were in part, designed not only to pay tribute to those disabled people that have achieved great things but also to celebrate Scope’s landmark 70th anniversary. The inaugural awards ceremony took place at Twickenham Stadium in London at the end of October, in front of a room filled with achievers from the disability community.
The ceremony, hosted by Paralympic Champion, Kadeena Cox OBE, was attended by guests including Scope ambassadors, Ben Elton and Nicolas Hamilton and nominees Christine McGuiness, Cherylee Houston and Ade Adepitan.
The awards were designed to shine a light on equality champions, recognising and celebrating the achievements of people who campaign for disability equality, change attitudes and ultimately, bring about social change.
Able Magazine editor, Tom Jamison and eight-time Paralympic dressage champion, Sophie Christiansen CBE, helped to judge the Journalist Award which included nominees from across media who were involved in important work in raising awareness of disability issues and holding those in authority to account.
Winner of the Journalist Award was filmmaker, Richard Butchins, who has produced investigative documentaries for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and seemed genuinely surprised to have been selected from such a strong category field.
Among other popular award winners was Baroness Jane Campbell DBE who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Campbell has been campaigning for disability rights and independent living for over 30 years as Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Chair of the British Council of Disabled People and most recently, as a crossbench peer. She used her speech to outline the relatively poor representation of disabled people in government and encouraged more to apply to get involved and stand for office, to get more disabled voices heard.
The Scope Awards provided a moment of sunshine in what has been a tough period for many disabled people. Indeed, Scope continues to work towards the realisation of its vision to create a fairer society for the estimated 14.6m disabled people living in the UK and to end disability inequality.
The full list of Scope Disability Equality Awards winners:
Lifetime Achievement: Baroness Jane Campbell DBE
Baroness Campbell has dedicated her life to promoting independence and challenging discrimination.
Young Campaigner: Rhys Porter
After being the subject of online abuse when he posted a video of himself playing football, Rhys was determined to challenge the negative attitudes that so many disabled people face. He gained high profile support from Fulham Football Club, the Football Association and Gary Lineker.
Role Model: Rose Ayling-Ellis
Known for playing Frankie Lewis in EastEnders, Rose became the first Deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, winning the series. Earlier this year, she used BSL to read a CBeebies bedtime story and has partnered with Mattel to launch the first Barbie doll with hearing aids.
Accessible Organisation: Designability: Wizzybug
Wizzybug offer powerchairs to disabled pre-school children giving them independence, so they can enjoy more opportunities to play and interact with their friends and family.
Campaign: British Deaf Association: BSL Act Now
This campaign got the backing of thousands of people and secured cross-party political support. The outcome was the British Sign Language Act, recognising BSL as a language in law.
Media Moment: Strictly Come Dancing
Rose Ayling-Ellis and partner, Giovanni Pernice, captivated the country with their dance to Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’, which was performed partly in silence in tribute to the Deaf community.
Journalist: Richards Butchins
Richard is an award-winning filmmaker and artist whose work includes investigative documentaries for BBC and Channel 4. His Dispatches programme ‘The Truth About Disability Benefits’ investigated a series of deaths and revealed shocking new statistics around suicides by disabled benefits claimants.
Influencer: Sophie Butler
Sophie uses her social media platform to educate and empower audiences through her weekly ’Sunday school with Soph’ and was the first wheelchair user on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Purple Pioneer: Ru Jones
Ru uses social media to share struggles and joy, offering an authentic view of life as a disabled person. Ru is also Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Exeter University Guild, where they work to improve educational accessibility.
For further information about Scope and the Scope Awards, visit: scopeawards.co.uk