What is the Purple Pound?

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The power of the purple pound explained

At SPECTRUM we have talked about the spending power of Disabled People for a very long time.

The point being that there are a lot of Disabled People in the UK, they spend money – and no business, big or small (profit making or not-for-profit), can afford to ignore THAT many people, and THAT much ££££££.

As long ago as maybe 2010, Disabled People and others started to try to compare the spending power (and therefore influence) to other groups of people. For Instance, the spending power of Older People is usually referred to as the Grey Pound, or Silver Pound.

In the last few years the spending power of Disabled People has become known as the Purple Pound

purple-pound-sign (1)In the UK, it is thought that some 7 million Disabled People people are of working age, and overall there are 12.9 million Disabled People in total in the UK. This all adds up to an awful lot of spending power!

The “purple pound” is reckoned to be worth around £249bn to the UK economy.

Do disabled people have much spending power?

The UK’s Disabled People are said to have disposable income collectively worth nearly £250bn. Campaign groups regularly cite this figure and find it useful to remind businesses and politicians that Disabled People are a sizeable economic, and political force and should not be forgotten.


Disability consultant Mary-Anne Rankin says that businesses should think inclusively from the very beginning of any product or service they’re starting. She says:

“You’ve got to think about the widest possible usage of your services and explore innovative ways of enabling everybody to benefit from them. Because after all if your customers can benefit you’re going to make more money.”


As with why it is the colour purple (see below), similarly many people scratch their heads as to how the £BN figure was derived. All seem to agree it came from the DWP in 2004, but even they say the maths has been lost in the 10 years since it was first suggested. DWP says it was created using raw data from the updated Disability Discrimination Act in that year, alongside data from the Family Resources Survey of 2002-2003.

Whatever the variously quoted £BN’s, the fact is that we are talking a huge amount of money.

How does the Purple Pound compare to other groups?

  • Black and ethnic minority spending power, £300bn – 12% of the population of the UK, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, IPA, 2012.
  • Consumer power of the gay community, £70bn to £81bn – thought to be 6% of the UK, according to OutNow Consulting, 2007.
  • Overall UK disposable income of its 25 million households plus non-profit sector, 1.078 trillion pounds, according to the Office for National Statistics, ONS, 2012.

If you would like to read more – including why it is called the Purple Pound, follow the following links:


So – there you are – The Purple Pound

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What is a User-Led Organisation?


SPECTRUM’s Guidance concerning: what are the unique characteristics of a ULO?

SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living is an organisation run and controlled by Disabled People. We formed in 1984 as one of the first organisation in the UK that were run and controlled and managed by Disabled People.

We are therefore a User Led Organisation (ULO) and have been since our formation, and indeed, before the term ‘ULO’ was even coined.

With this history and experience, we have built up a range of resources and expertise to guide organisation that wish to be a ULO, and for commissioners who want to encourage the development of more ULO’s. We are able to provide training and consultancy services on request.

This information leaflet has been developed to help interested parties to understand what the key issues are in creating an effective and engaging ULO.

A few years ago, the Department of Health developed a ‘Design Criteria’ of 21 criteria for ULO’s to aspire to. Whilst SPECTRUM broadly supports these, we recognise they are complex and can be off-putting to many. However, we also know that being an effective ULO is a lot more than just having a majority of the organisation’s user-base on the Management Committee or governing bodies.

SPECTRUM has worked with many ULO’s, organisations wishing become a ULO and with commissioners who want to help develop a ULO. As a result of this work we have developed this guidance which helps new and evolving ULO’s to understand what the essential and desirable characteristics of a ULO are.

What is essential for a ULO? and what is just desirable for a ULO?

Understanding what a ULO is:

The starting point for understanding what a ULO is, is the definition developed from the Department of Health’s User-Led Organisation project, which defined a ULO as:

an organisation that covers all local Disabled People, Carers and other people who use support either directly or via establishing links with other local organisations and networks”

It is recognised and accepted that not all new and emerging groups would meet all of the design criteria at the early stages of their development, although they would normally be expected to be working towards meeting them over time. The Department of Health policy also acknowledges that these criteria may be met in a variety of ways according to local demand, resources and circumstances.

It is also important to note that it is not strictly necessary for a ULO to describe itself as such in order to meet the criteria. What a group does, and how it is run, are more important than what they call themselves.

SPECTRUM has observed that the design criteria were not necessarily a good fit for all types of groups (especially non-disability groups). To fix that, we have adapted the criteria in consultation with other ULO’s so that they make more sense in the specific context of ULO development.

These revised criteria are detailed below, providing clarity and comment about what is an essential characteristic and what is desirable or a longer term aim:




Other Methods to Follow what SPECTRUM Thinks & Does


SPECTRUM uses a variety of Social Media platforms to communicate with, including:

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/SPECTRUM.CIL/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPECTRUMCIL

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/spectrum-cil-42965ba5/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/southamptoncil

Why not try out all these different flavours of SPECTRUM!

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The Importance of Accessible Information


In a (we suspect welcome!) respite from the General Election, SPECTRUM’s CEO, Ian Loynes, was at an event yesterday, concerning how we can help more User-Led Organisations (ULO) to flourish – we got onto the subject of the importance of accessible information

Actually, it is relevant to the General Election, simply because the main political parties are notoriously BAD at being able to produce their Manifestos in accessible formats!!

Anyway, back to the subject of this article. One of the key objectives of a ULO (such as SPECTRUM!) is to enable Disabled People to become empowered and make the world work for them. Now – we all know that knowledge is power; we also know that knowledge is much more difficult to gain without information.

At the ULO event we talked about producing accessible information. I said that SPECTRUM has its own accessible information standards that all staff are expected to follow for all information that we produce.

SPECTRUM’s access standards have been developed through 30+ years of working with Disabled People

One of the presenters asked me to share our standards with them. (Thank you Barod CIC from Wales)

And in that conversation was born the idea for this article.

WHY don’t we share our access standards with other organisations and people like yourself? That way we can encourage other organisations to think about how they can improve the accessibility of printed information

So, here it is: SPECTRUM’s Accessible Information Standards which are part of every staff induction process. We hope you find it interesting and stimulates you to think about how you can improve the accessibility of what you produce.

It is really an internal document, designed to help SPECTRUM ensure its staff and volunteers understand the importance of accessible information.

SPECTRUM’s Access Standards

SPECTRUM sets high standards for itself, providing accessible, inclusive and empowering services to all Disabled People. Information is of key importance in delivering these standards, and therefore SPECTRUM requires that information produced by the organisation must be available in a range of different accessible formats, to ensure that no Disabled Person is denied access to our services or information due to their impairment. All staff are required to abide by the access standards, as set out in this document at all times. Our access standards are an important part of SPECTRUM’s identity.

Standard Printed Information

To aid general accessibility, SPECTRUM’s policy standard is that all printed materials must be produced in a font size of at least 14, in a ‘san-serif’ font (for example Arial, Calibri or Comic Sans).

Text should generally be left-justified to aid accessibility. Where practical, a font size of 16 should be used as this is considered ‘large-print’ and will therefore be accessible to more people. Font sizes of less than 14 should not be used unless there are exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of your Line Manager.

Terms such as ‘Disabled People’, ‘Older People’ and ‘Independent Living’ should always have their first letters capitalised. These are political terms indicating ownership and should be respected in the same way we capitalise people’s names.

Abbreviations should be avoided whenever possible, and in all cases they should only be used when they are fully expanded the first time they are used in every document (for example HCC [Hampshire County Council]). The use of abbreviations will exclude anyone who does not understand what they mean, and they often make documents more difficult to read.

Care should be given to ensure that there is a high level of contrast between text colour and background/paper colour. Text overlaid on images or designs should be avoided at all times.

Avoid the use of CAPITAL LETTERS FOR HEADINGS. Strings of capital letters can be more difficult to read for visually impaired people, and in any case can give the impression you are shouting at your reader.

Care should also be given to avoid the unnecessary use of jargon and complex words which make information less accessible. Please examine what you write and consider if any of the words you use are not in common use, or could be substituted for simpler words. SPECTRUM encourages the use of ‘Plain English’ throughout its published information.

Whilst it may not realistic for all documents to be proof-read, please take care to ensure all official reports, leaflets and other formal documents which represent SPECTRUM and its views are proof-read by someone with these skills before distributing.

Other Accessible Formats

SPECTRUM has a policy of pro-actively assessing what other accessible formats might be required in particular circumstances. Common accessible formats include: Large Print, Easy Read, Audio Format, Braille and Easy Read.

General information (for example leaflets and booklets) produced by SPECTRUM should be quickly and willingly converted to these or other specifically requested formats on request. Depending on the nature and purpose of the information, it may be appropriate to have stocks of different formats available ‘off-the-shelf’.

Information to be used at meetings should be available in the following formats: Standard Print, Large Print, Audio Tape and Braille, unless the organiser is sure of who is attending and their access needs.

Accessible Meetings/Events

SPECTRUM requires that all meetings and events it organises are accessible to all. This will include using British Sign Language at any public meeting. Specific guidance and checklists are available from your Line Manager or the Office Manager on request.

Access Standards and SPECTRUM’s reputation

Please remember that SPECTRUM’s reputation for inclusion and accessibility are only as good as the working practices of our staff and volunteers. It is the responsibility of all staff to take care at all times to ensure everything we do and everything we produce is done with the intention of being as inclusive and accessible as possible.

SPECTRUM recognises that, in practice, there will be occasions when we unintentionally exclude individuals because we have failed to meet their access needs.

When this happens, it is very important that SPECTRUM accepts responsibility for the failure, even if we had no way of pre-empting the need in advance. In no circumstances should we imply that the individual who we have excluded is in any way to blame.

Staff involved should ensure that, when these situations occur, every effort is made to resolve the access issue. If it is not possible to resolve it on the spot, staff should discuss with the individual what actions SPECTRUM needs to take to meet the individual’s needs now, or after the event to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

In the event of access failures, staff should make every effort to ensure that SPECTRUM, as a whole, learns from the experience. Often the best way to do this is to report incidents to the Chief Executive who will be responsible for ensuring guidelines are modified appropriately. Whatever you do, do not try to hide the failure – it is only by being open and sharing the experience that SPECTRUM will learn and improve.

We hope this article has been useful.

Reporting Hate Crime? – There’s an app for that!

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Regular readers will know that SPECTRUM is a 3rd party hate crime reporting centre – working with Hampshire Police and 14 organisations across Southampton to raise the awareness of what hate crime is, supporting people affected by hate crime, and encouraging people to report hate crimes whenever they are unfortunate to be the victim of a hate crime incident.

But two issues remain –

What is hate crime? – who does it affect?

How do I report hate crime?

Both of these questions can now be easily answered by downloading an APP onto your smart phone.

However – I know from experience that finding the Hampshire Police Hate Crime APP can be difficult. How do you find the APP you want in app stores that contain hundred’s of thousands of apps?

Worry no more – just follow the two links below to download the hate crime APP of both iPhone and Android APP Stores:

For iPhone users: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hate-crime/id599314473?mt=8

For Android Users: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.revelmob.hatecrime

Help us to get everyone to download these APPs onto their phones – once they have been downloaded then users can quickly and easily report hate crime incidents whenever they happen.

If it is easy – people will do it. Help us to make it easier by sharing this information to your networks

Thank you

SPECTRUM CIL – A Brief History

A brief history of SPECTRUM – 33 years and counting:

The Early years:

We were born as Southampton Centre for Independent Living (SCIL) at a public meeting held in Southampton in November 1984 by a small group of Disabled People who met to develop support mechanisms which enabled them to live independently. SCIL was one of the first Centre’s for Independent Living in the UK.  SCIL remained essentially a dedicated group of volunteers until the early 1990’s, making itself known, campaigning and gaining representation on influential bodies.

In 1987, SCIL gained office space in Canute Road, Southampton. However, in 1990, we became ’homeless’ due to accommodation and resource difficulties. These problems led SCIL to rethink its strategy.  We decided to assume a dual role: our services to Disabled People remaining free to Disabled People, but a significant change was introduced to develop income generating support services, and the introduction of fee paying services to professional, statutory and commercial enterprises.

During 1991, SCIL received two grants to finance the appointment of our first full-time paid Coordinator and to develop Disability Equality Training. This enabled SCIL to develop policies and structures to ensure the efficient running of SCIL and to demonstrate our values, principles and accountability to members; this sound foundation enabled us to grow in size and influence.

The middle ages:

The Northlands Road years: A move to Northlands Road in 1992 enabled SCIL to expand our services quickly, identifying opportunities to provide services which supported Disabled People to live independently via early ‘Direct Payments’ schemes. We developed consumer based auditing services, personal development training, and a range of training and consultancy services aimed at statutory authority staff and businesses. We also continued to campaign locally and nationally on disability issues and to further our demand for civil and human rights.  We gained recognition for the role we played, and our ability to effectively represent the views of Disabled People.

By 1997 we had 8 staff. However, by 2004 this had increased to 24. We were bursting at the seams in Northlands Road; necessitating the next stage of our development.

The Unity 12 years:

In 2005 we purchased, renovated and moved to our current office premises in Rose Road which we called Unity 12. This enabled us to embark on a new and exciting development in our history. We set-up a subsidiary organisation, Unity 12 CIC, as the holding company to manage the property on our behalf. As sole shareholders in Unity 12, we have led 2 major refurbishment programmes and have developed fully accessible conference facilities, meeting rooms and office space that we rent to like minded organisations who deliver Independent Living opportunities for Disabled People in the community.

In 2008 we setup a 2nd subsidiary, SCIL Continuing Care CIC (Now called SPECTRUM Continuing Care), to deliver personalised support services to Disabled People with health care needs.

Modern Times:

In 2013 we rebranded ourselves as SPECTRUM Centre for independent Living, reflecting the diversity of our services, and the fact that we didn’t just operate in Southampton any more.

In 2016 we initiated a new strategy, to work more closely with our subsidiaries, develop our skill sets, make better use of our resources, and to work collaboratively to develop innovative new services and secure our future. This strategy will see the appointment of our first HR & Performance Manager.

SPECTRUM has a book available, containing a detailed exploration of our history and the history of Disabled People and the Independent Living Movement. Download a copy here: SPECTRUM – Our History

 SPECTRUM today:

SPECTRUM has weathered difficult political, social and economic climates, shrinking and growing accordingly. However, SPECTRUM has cemented its reputation locally, regionally and nationally as one of the most respected, influential and innovatively proactive User-Led Organisations (ULO’s) in the UK.

SPECTRUM currently provides the following services:

Training, consultancy and advisory services to public, commercial and third sector organisations

Personal development opportunities for Disabled People

Direct Payments and Personal & Managed Budget support services

Facilitated co-production opportunities with Disabled People

Personal Assistance register (web-based)

Student Social Worker placements

Mentored support for Disabled People

Advocacy support for Disabled People

Supporting the development of new User Led Organisations

Accessible office, conference and meeting facilities (via Unity 12 CIC)

Personalised care packages for Disabled People using NHS Continuing Care funding (via SPECTRUMCC CIC)

The future:

Throughout our history we have succeeded where other ULO’s have not by maintaining clear aims, values and principles; by being pragmatic and innovative; and by leading from the front on user-led developments and issues that we, as Disabled People, feel strongly about.

SPECTRUM will not rest until we achieve our aims and Disabled People are enabled to live independently and enjoy the same choices, control and life opportunities that non-disabled people take for granted.

Visit our website for more information: www.SpectrumCIL.co.uk

Think you know Disabled People … Think again

Hate Crime – What is it, and why does it matter?


SPECTRUM has been raising the profile and understanding of hate crime, particularly Disability Hate Crime, for several years. in 2015 we organised a Hate Crime seminar in Winchester which attracted a huge attendance from people and organisations across all equality groups, as well as the Police and Local Authorities to look at how we could support people to recognise, report and act on incidents of hate crime. In fact we had people queuing out of the door wanting to get into the seminar!

More recently, SPECTRUM has agreed to become a ‘3rd Party Hate Crime Reporting Centre’ as part of an important initiative by Hampshire Constabulary to develop a network of reporting centres across the county, Southampton & Portsmouth. We are very pleased to be one of the initial 13 reporting centres.

SPECTRUM knows that Disability Hate Crime is massively under recognised and most, if not all, Disabled People will have a some time experienced a hate crime incident. Sadly, many Disabled People view hate crime as something they just have to put up with. (as is the case in other equality groups affected by hate crime)

We want this attitude to change

Hate Crime Brand_FINAL elements_Artboard 1.pdf

As part of our commitment to raising the profile of what hate crime is, and how and why people should report incidents, we have agreed to work with Hampshire Police to co-ordinate the 3rd Party Hate Crime Reporting Centres’ Network – the aim being to develop a coordinated approach to tackling all forms of hate crime as they affect all sections of our community. We also hope to develop information and awareness raising materials for the whole network to use. We want to grow the network of 3rd party reporting centres as well.

The fact is that Disability Hate Crime is the most under reported form of hate crime. SPECTRUM hopes that by putting its money where its mouth is and take a leadership role in raising the profile of hate crime – and in the process help More Disabled People to recognise hate crime for what it is, and to support them to report incidents to the police.

The author knows from very personal experience that reporting hate crime incidents IS worthwhile and the Police DO take it seriously when reported

The rest of this article consists of a presentation made by Ahmed Sasso from Hampshire Police to SPECTRUM’s staff & Directors.

I hope the information in these slides help to improve your understanding.