On Wednesday 16 December, it was time to reveal the findings of our latest campaign, the aptly titled ‘A Revitalise Christmas Carol.’ Echoing the timeless story of Scrooge in the Charles Dickens classic, our study looked at the past, present and future of life for disabled people and their carers, exploring how this may have changed over the years and what this means for those we support and others like them.
The narrative of our campaign was based around three principal questions – has quality of life got better or worse for disabled people and their carers in contrast to the past? What are the biggest challenges that present themselves today? And , what about hopes and dreams for the future? Our final campaign of the year continued to embellish the rich tapestry we continue to craft thanks to the support of unpaid carers and disabled people who by sharing their stories with us help to weave together the intricate narrative that is at the heart of our campaign.
Having a disability myself, it is fair to say that I have a unique insight into a world that many others do not. I am all too aware of the challenges that both myself and others like me face on a daily basis, although sometimes it is not until others who are in a similar position express their feelings that common thoughts, concerns or aspirations come to light.
For instance, our survey revealed that 8 out of 10 disabled people and their carers are concerned about what the future holds, with almost half saying that they were either very worried or had never been so worried about what is in store for them. When asked about the underlying causes of this concern, of the majority of disabled people and carers that expressed trepidation, two thirds cited worries that their respite or social opportunities would diminish, with over half saying they were concerned about receiving less support from statutory services and 4 out of 10 expressing anxiety about ending up isolated and alone.
While thus far the findings of our ‘A Revitalise Christmas Carol’ campaign may have painted a disheartening picture of the reality faced by unpaid carers and those they care for, all is not lost. Just like the narrative of the timeless classic, our campaign concluded with a little future gazing, looking at hopes and wishes for days to come. Two thirds said they need more or better social or respite opportunities, with nearly half saying they need more practical support and 4 out of 10 saying they want to feel more financially secure.
Scrooge’s story teaches us that we must believe in the possibility of change. Just as he was able to see the error of his ways and alter the lives of those around him, we too can take inspiration from the moral of Dickens’ story. That’s why, we are calling for greater support of disabled people and carers to help alleviate their worries and ensure they are able to look into the future with a renewed sense of confidence!