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Announcing the winners of the Scope Disability Equality Awards

The winners of the first Scope Disability Equality Awards have been announced, including Baroness Jane Campbell DBE, Rose Ayling-Ellis and the British Deaf Association.

The awards shine a spotlight on individuals, community groups, businesses and role models who champion disability equality and change attitudes.

Baroness Jane Campbell wins Lifetime Achievement Award


The ceremony, hosted by Paralympic gold medalist Kadeena Cox OBE at Twickenham Stadium, featured guests including Scope Ambassadors Ben Elton and Nicolas Hamilton and nominees Christine McGuiness, Cherylee Houston and Ade Adepitan.

Winning images:

Red carpet:

The full list of Scope Disability Equality Award winners includes:

Lifetime Achievement: Baroness Jane Campbell DBE

Baroness Campbell is a disability rights campaigner and unqualified counterpart. From 1991 to 1995, she chaired the British Council of Disabled People at the height of the campaign for the Disability Discrimination Act. She was Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2006 to 2008. Baroness Campbell has dedicated her life to promoting independence and fighting discrimination.

Young Activist: Rhys Porter

After facing abuse online when he posted a video of himself playing football, Rhys was determined to challenge the negative attitudes that so many people with disabilities face. He won top-flight support from Fulham Football Club, the Football Association and Gary Lineker.

Model: Rose Ayling-Ellis

Known for playing Frankie Lewis on EastEnders, Rose became the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, winning the series. Earlier this year, she used BSL to read a bedtime story from CBeebies and partnered with Mattel to launch the first Barbie doll with hearing aids.

Accessible Organization: Designability: Wizzybug

Wizzybug offers electric wheelchairs for preschoolers with disabilities, giving them the independence they need so they can enjoy more opportunities to play and interact with friends and family.

Campaign: British Deaf Association: BSL Act Now

This campaign has won the support of thousands of people and gained political support from all parties. The result was the British Sign Language Act, recognizing BSL as a language of law.

Media Moment: Strictly Come Dancing

Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice captivated the country with their dance to Clean Bandit’s “Symphony,” which was performed silently as a tribute to the deaf community.

Journalist: Richards Butchins

Richard is an award-winning filmmaker and artist whose work includes investigative documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. His Dispatches program ‘The Truth About Disability Benefits’ investigated a series of deaths and revealed shocking new statistics on suicides of disability claimants.

Influencer: Sophie Butler

Sophie uses her social media platform to educate and empower the public through her weekly ‘Sunday School with Soph’ and was the first wheelchair user to grace the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Purple Pioneer: Ru Jones

Ru uses social media to share her struggles and her joy, providing an authentic view of life as a disabled person. Ru is also Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Exeter Guild, where they work to improve accessibility to education.

Scope celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, but believes there is still a long way to go before achieving true equality for people with disabilities.

Earlier this year, Scope surveyed over 4,000 adults with disabilities (1) and found that 3 in 4 (72%) said they had experienced negative attitudes and behaviors in the past five years, 96% of those surveyed (aged 18 to 34 years old) saying that negative attitudes left them feeling isolated and alone.

James Taylor, Scope’s Executive Director, Strategy Impact and Social Change, said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to announce the well-deserved winners of the Scope Disability Equality Awards and recognize their incredible contributions to driving social change.

“We are celebrating Scope’s 70th anniversary this year, but there is still a long way to go to achieve a society where all people with disabilities are equal. Much has changed in the world in 70 years, but people with disabilities still face the same barriers and negative attitudes.

“The Scope Awards nominees and winners show us all that there are so many individuals and organizations committed to creating a more inclusive society for people with disabilities, and they should all be immensely proud of their accomplishments.”