Cost of living cancels Christmas for disabled people

The disability equality charity Scope launches its ‘Cost of Christmas’ fundraising appeal (28 November) in response to the brutal impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on disabled people.

With Christmas fast approaching, energy prices still sky high and personal debts mounting, disability equality charity Scope is inundated with calls to its helpline services. The charity’s appeal hopes to raise vital funds so it can support more disabled people and their families.

To coincide with its fundraising appeal launch, Scope is releasing new research that exposes the harsh reality for disabled people at this time of year. Scope surveyed more than 2,000 people (carried out by Opinium) and found:

Almost 1 in 3 disabled people say that they expect to be struggling financially this winter.
A third (33%) of disabled people will struggle to enjoy Christmas because of how much it will cost, compared to 23% of non-disabled adults.
38% of disabled people said they weren’t turning on the heating when cold because of the cost of living.
45% of disabled people said they are concerned about affording food this winter, compared to 29% of non-disabled adults.
Almost 4 in 10 disabled people expect to spend less on Christmas presents for their children.
Almost a quarter (23%) of disabled people expect to go into debt this Christmas due to how much it will cost, compared to 16% of non-disabled adults.
Keisha Green, 46, from London, lives with her 16-year-old daughter and her puppy. She is a former teacher who became disabled after a stroke.

She has a heart condition which is impacted by the cold, she has sleep apnoea and she uses an oxygen machine at home. Keisha has a power wheelchair, and her home is adapted for her needs. Her home needs a lot of electricity to support her and power the equipment she needs.

Keisha said: “My daughter wishes that she was working so she could have done Christmas for us this year, so she has applied for jobs but there aren’t many out there for 16-year-olds, so it’s not easy. I have brought her up in a way that is if we don’t have it, then we just have to do without, so she’s strong. It’s not easy that I can’t work myself because of the amount of medication and medical reasons, because I’ve always been a working person, and now I can’t even afford to go and buy Christmas shopping for us.

“We used to treat Christmas as a special day, even though it’s just the two of us. We didn’t have a Christmas last year and we’re going to cancel again this year.”

Scope’s Cost of Christmas appeal includes a new hard-hitting TV advert, created by integrated marketing agency WPNC, depicting the difficult choices that disabled people and their families are making.

View the advert here:

We have partnered with the Big Give and joined their 2023 Christmas Challenge, the UK’s biggest match-funding campaign where for one week only, donations from the public will be doubled.

Scope’s Director of Fundraising Amanda Mitchell said: “Scope’s Cost of Christmas appeal is bringing attention to the disproportionate impact of the cost of living crisis on disabled people.

“Life costs more for disabled people. They need to use more energy to power vital equipment like wheelchairs, hoists and breathing equipment. They can need the heating on more for health reasons. Everyday essentials cost more, so the cost of living crisis has hit disabled people hard.

“Our Cost of Christmas fundraising appeal powerfully shows the challenges that disabled families are facing. It’s based on the thousands of stories we have heard this year. It’s heartbreaking to know that so many disabled people feel that Christmas is broken. We want to let people know that Scope is here to help and there is hope.”

Christmas Appeal

Last year Scope supported over 42,000 customers with information and advice through our Helpline and Disability Energy Support service. The advert features disabled actors in scenarios that are based on real stories that Scope has been hearing via its online community, helpline and research.

Scope’s free, accessible 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 reassurance and emotional support. We’re also doing everything we can to save disabled people money. Over the last year, our Disability Energy Support service supported disabled people to achieve an estimated saving of £1.9 million on their bills.

But for every 2 calls we receive, another goes unanswered. Our appeal hopes to raise funds so we can better meet demand and be there for everyone who needs us this winter.”

Please support Scope to be there for everyone who needs us this winter. You can donate, set up your own fundraiser or shop online or in your local Scope store. Text FIX to 70447 to give £4 and support Scope’s helpline to answer a call for help. Or search SCOPE to donate online.  

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