Scope hard-hitting Xmas ad exposes disabled poverty

ScopeTV_2Disability equality charity Scope is highlighting how the cost-of-living crisis has hit disabled people and their families hard, and the tough choices they are being forced to make this Christmas in a new TV campaign, created by integrated marketing agency WPNC.

Featuring disabled actors, the advertisement describes the difficult dilemmas disabled people and their families are wrestling with. Life costs more for disabled people and for many “Christmas is broken”.

It features a mum, whose daughter is disabled and uses a powered wheelchair, opting to put back a toy on a supermarket shelf; “…choosing between a Christmas present for your child, or feeding your family this winter”. Meanwhile, an elderly man is shown wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask alone at home, as his wheelchair stands unplugged from power; “…choosing between charging your wheelchair to visit friends, or being able to breathe.” Finally, it shows a mum shivering and in pain under a blanket, next to her mobility aid, as her teenage son brings her a sandwich; “…choosing between heating your home to stay well and eating a hot meal”.

Launching today, the ad starkly contrasts with some retail and fashion ad campaigns featuring celebrities that run at this time of year.

Scope’s ad highlights the additional strain placed on disabled people and their families who endure unavoidable extra costs. They may need to power vital equipment like wheelchairs, hoists and breathing equipment. They may need the heating on more for their health. At the same time, energy prices are still sky high – and increasing again – while the cost of food has spiralled, and personal debts are mounting.

The ad is based on the thousands of real stories that Scope has been hearing via its online community, helpline and research this year.

Scope has found that life costs more if you are disabled. On average, disabled households need an additional £975 a month to have the same standard of living as non-disabled households. This means disabled households must find nearly £12,000 extra each year compared to a non-disabled household to have the same standard of living.

In fact, a Scope survey with more than 2,000 people in the UK (carried out by Opinium) found many disabled people would struggle this winter.

Some 38% of disabled people surveyed said they were not using heating when cold because of the cost of living, compared to 26% of non-disabled adults, while over a third (34%) said they were buying lower quality food, skipping meals and/or eating less because of the cost of living, compared to 19% of non-disabled adults. Even more worrying, one in five (20%) of disabled people surveyed said they were cutting back or stopping showering and bathing because of the cost of living, compared to 9% of non-disabled adults.

The ad ends with a message of hope: the generous actions of donors can support Scope’s staff to answer more calls and emails, and give financial advice as well as reassurance to disabled people and their families.

During the past year, Scope has supported more than 42,000 disabled people and their families, through its helpline services – saving them a combined total of almost £2m on their bills through the charity’s Disability Energy Support service.

The final shot of the ad shows the little girl seen earlier in the supermarket tucked up in bed next to the soft toy she’ had seen in the store.

The 60-second Cost of Christmas Appeal ad is appearing on broadcast channels including Channel 4 and Sky channels, as well as Channel 5, TalkTV, GB News and others, between now and Christmas.

The appeal will be supported with additional activity that includes social media, face-to-face fundraising, direct mail and in-store promotion in more than 190 Scope charity shops nationwide.

Scope interim director of fundraising Amanda Mitchell said: “Life costs more if you’re disabled and the cost-of-living crisis has made this far worse. Everyday essentials such as food, energy and heating can all be more expensive for disabled households. At Scope, we are hearing from disabled people living in cold homes, regularly skipping meals and even unable to afford to shower. Too many disabled people and their families are being forced into making tough choices this Christmas.

“By launching our Cost of Christmas Appeal we aim to show the difficult decisions real families face, while including a message of hope that donations can help them access support services from Scope. Our free, accessible helpline services are supporting disabled people and their families to manage their bills, access grants and claim the financial support they are entitled to. We are providing essential support to thousands of disabled people, and we hope this appeal will mean we can have an even greater reach.”

WPNC agency managing director John Eversley added: “Scope’s campaign delivers a message that might be uncomfortable but is urgent and necessary: disabled people and their families have impossible choices to make this Christmas.

“Featuring disabled actors in the TV ad allows us to highlight in an authentic way the real problems and emotional distress faced by the disabled people Scope supports, depicting a very different Christmas than the festivities shown in other ads that are currently on air.”

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