Homes and schools to go as Scope reacts to disabled critics

Scope is closing some of its residential homes for disabled people in line with a major change in policy.

Although Scope has traditionally followed a model of residential and institutional care, criticism from disabled activists over segregated accommodation has prompted it to re-examine the model. The charity now recognises that the policy may, in fact, have disempowered disabled people by excluding them from their communities.

Tony Manwaring, chief executive of Scope, admitted it was a sensitive issue. But he insisted the changes would enable disabled people to lead more fulfilling lives.

He said: "We want to follow a model we have elsewhere, in which we provide a wide range of structured support for people living in the community."

The changes will result in the closure of Cyncoed Flats in Cardiff and Trengweath School in Plymouth, which offers respite care, though Scope hopes to merge it with a nearby charity school.

Beech Tree School in Preston, which provides for pupils with profound learning impairments compounded by challenging behaviour, will be sold, and the Newton Lane home in Chester will close.

Many beneficiaries are angry at the changes. Cyncoed Flats resident Brian Byfield said: "It stinks. I've been here since 1979. This is my life - I go out and about here, and I work in the community."

Scope issued a statement saying: "We deeply regret the upset that this will cause some people. We are committed to doing all that we can to support those who have been directly affected."

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