Crippen and the disability Charities!


I know that I go on a bit about charities, and I do realise that some have come a long way over the past decade and now involve Disabled people in their running, but I’m afraid that they still tend to get right up my nose!

By their very nature, many of them depend upon the general public feeling sorrier for us Crips than let’s say, abandoned kittens in Greece. And for society to feel this, we must be portrayed as tragic, but brave or plucky, and needing their help to overcome our awful handicaps. In this case ‘help’ is defined as giving money to those charities that claim to represent us. Having given the money, Mr and Mrs Public go away feeling that they’ve done their bit for society and that the problem of ‘the disabled’ has been sorted.

What in fact has happened is that the stereotypical beliefs that most people have about us Crips has been re-enforced yet again, making it even more difficult to get across our own messages about equality and rights. 

Job Creation

I’ve likened charities to job creation schemes for middle class non-disabled people, many who are looking to build up brownie points on their CV’s. “I spent a couple of years working for SPOOP” always goes down well at an interview for a job in the real world after their short stint with one of the bigger charities.


But things are changing, and not just because Disabled people have been successful in protesting about the corruptness of the messages that some charities give, but because of other changes within our society. The centre of these changes has been the introduction of the National Lottery. By buying a weekly Lottery ticket, the public feel that they are replacing the money that they used to put into the collecting tins. Interestingly the funding from the former National Lottery Charity Board to even mainstream organisations was dependent on their ensuring better access (physical and otherwise) for Disabled people. This was a major wakeup call for many organisations which might otherwise have not considered inclusion of Disabled people.


This has created a problem for some charities and they are now struggling to survive. In fact, the word on the street is that a couple of the bigger charities are now under scrutiny by the Charities Commission as their income is only enough to pay for the organisation itself. They don’t have sufficient income any more to provide the help that they were originally set up for!

Gone are the days when one big national charity could provide its senior staff with interest free bridging loans whenever they wanted to sell their houses and move up-market (true!).


Description of cartoon for those people using screen reading software

A wheelchair user holding a placard that reads ‘Rights not charity’ is confronting a charity fund raiser. The fund raiser is the infamous Captain Pratt, clad in pink lycra with coiled, bouncy springs on his head, flippers on his feet and pom poms attached to a springy tail. Between them is a sign that reads ‘Captain Pratt still raising funds for the handicapped’. The Captain is saying to the young disabled guy: “What IS your problem?!”


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