This is the first of what will become regular articles about what SPECTRUM does and importantly, WHY we exist and what is important in our world (and we hope – your world as well).
So, let’s start with an introduction to SPECTRUM – touching on all of the above.
SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living (SPECTRUM for short) is an organisation run and controlled by Disabled People, firmly rooted in the British and international Disability Movement, born of the civil rights movements around the world during the 1960-70’s; the guiding principle being that disability issues are human rights issues.
We work to a Social Model of Disability philosophy, which defines disability in terms of the discrimination and social, economic and environmental barriers caused by a society which fails to meet the needs of people with impairments. [We’ll talk more about the Social Model in a future article]
We are a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC); we are membership based, comprising of ‘full members’ (Disabled People) and ‘associate members’ (non-disabled allies). We are fully accountable to our membership.
We are committed to the principle of equality, recognising that people can experience discrimination on the grounds of class, age, gender, transgender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, belief, as well as impairment.
SPECTRUM is run by and for Disabled People to promote Independent Living and the meaningful inclusion of Disabled People into the community. By ‘Disabled People’ we include people with a physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological, emotional, age related or any other hidden impairment. We therefore include people with learning difficulties, mental health system users and survivors, cancer survivors and those living with HIV and AIDS and Older People.
Our aims are:
To provide a means by which Disabled People can take control over their own lives, achieve full participation in all spheres of society, and effect changes in how they are viewed and treated
To provide encouragement, assistance, advice, support and facilities to individuals or groups of Disabled People wishing to live independently
To empower and raise the expectations of Disabled People, individually and collectively, and ensure that their voices are heard
We deliver these aims by providing progressive & innovative ‘user led’ services which enable Disabled People to live independently, and by campaigning for the civil and human rights of Disabled People.
We believe that many of the services traditionally provided for Disabled People have resulted in segregation and disempowerment, creating systems which actually increase passivity and dependence. We work to create real opportunities for Disabled People to live independently and participate in the community as active and valued citizens. Our services are focused on empowering and enabling Disabled People to live the lifestyle of their choice, and to enjoy the same opportunities that non-disabled people take for granted.
Our philosophy is that all individuals can live independently in the community if they are provided the right support and facilities. People who need support for everyday living can be independent if they have choice and control over the way their support is delivered. We assist Disabled People to overcome the barriers which prevent their independence. [Again, we’ll talk more about Independent Living in a future article]
The most important function we perform is to empower Disabled People to understand that independence is not about doing everything for yourself, it is instead a matter of having choice and control over your life and a say in what happens to you.
SPECTRUM has a long track record of supporting, informing and assisting Disabled People to live independently. Our reputation enables us to influence the development of progressive social policy solutions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
If you want to find out more, and learn of the services we provide then please keep an eye on our LinkedIn page, or if you really can’t wait – visit our website: www.SPECTRUMCIL.co.uk