Campaigning success

2022: We help to secure £30 million in funding for support for disabled children

In 2022, the government announced an additional £30 million funding for short breaks for families with disabled children.

This was the result of a campaign called #GiveItBack, which we led as part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, in partnership with The Sun. The campaign called on the government to fund care, support and education for disabled children.

2021: Over 38,000 call for disabled people to be a focus of the Covid-19 inquiry

Disabled people are one of the hardest hit groups of the pandemic. Our campaign calls for disabled people to be at the heart of the Covid-19 inquiry.

We wrote to the chair of the inquiry in December 2021 with the support of 36 other leading disability organisations. We also hosted a parliamentary event to raise the issue with MPs and Lords.

In 2022, we delivered our petition of over 38,000 signatures to Parliament. 

2021: Thousands pledge to tackle loneliness among disabled people in their communities

Our Left Out of Life campaign launched in 2021, shining a light on the isolation felt by many disabled people in the UK. Watch our Think, Ask Include film to hear from some of our campaign champions.

After sharing his story in the press, campaign champion Eric was invited to join the Greater Manchester City Council board to represent deafblind people.

Over 100 campaigners went on to email their MP asking them to make their communities more accessible.

2020: Over 80,000 people learn basic sign language

In 2020, thousands signed up to learn some basic British Sign Language with Sense Sign School

The campaign was covered by the BBC, Sky News and more, and was celebrated in parliament. Tyrese even won a Points of Light award from the prime minister!

2020: Fighting for testing, PPE and disabled people’s rights during the pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many families of people with disabilities were left without help when services suddenly stopped. 62% of families and carers of disabled people had to take on extra caring responsibilities during the pandemic. 

That’s why we launched our Forgotten Families campaign. Over 1,000 families joined us in signing an open letter calling on the government to reinstate vital support services. 

 As a result of our campaigning, social care day services were able to get access to vital testing, PPE and other support.

We also collaborated with other charities to fight for disability rights more generally during the pandemic. We worked with the government on improving the accessibility of Covid-19 communications, and raising awareness about mask-wearing exemptions. As a result, the government piloted new, more inclusive face masks with clear panels.

2018: 36,000 call for more support for those planning for the future of their loved ones

1.7 million disabled people in the UK are cared for by their family and friends. But 75% don’t have a plan for what they’ll do when that support is no longer available. 
Our campaign, When I’m Gone, recommended that local authorities should look out for these people by making sure long-term plans are in place for their care. 36,000 of you backed us by signing the petition, which we took to Downing Street in December 2018.

2016: The Accessible Information Standard is launched

The Accessible Information Standard makes sure all health and social care information is clear and easy to understand for everyone, including people with disabilities, impairments and sensory loss. 

It came into force in 2016. As part of the advisory group, Sense was heavily involved in shaping it. We consulted deafblind people, carried out research and developed resources to help people know their rights. 

2016: We argue in Parliament for disabled children’s right to play

In 2015, we investigated whether disabled children have fair access to play. We found that more than half of disabled children had been intentionally excluded from playgrounds, childcare and other mainstream play settings. 

So, in 2016, we took our findings to Parliament. Our report, Making the Case For Play, laid out the key benefits of play and the barriers facing children with multiple needs. 

We also produced lots of resources to help parents and carers learn how to play with disabled children

2015: Raising awareness of the importance of friendship and community

To mark our 60th anniversary, we launched our campaign We All Need Friends. We found that over half of disabled people describe themselves as lonely, and 6% say that they have no friends at all. 

Sense called for more local groups and services to help disabled people to make friends. We also launched our very own Buddying scheme to bring people together in east London in 2016.

2011: Sense joins the Campaign to End Loneliness

The Campaign to End Loneliness is a coalition of UK charities raising awareness of the damaging health impact of loneliness. Sense joined the campaign because many disabled people are chronically lonely. 

Find out more about how to support the Campaign to End Loneliness.

2005: Raising awareness of older people who are deafblind

Did you know: of over 450,000 people who are deafblind in the UK, more than 302,000 are aged 70 or over?

Sight and hearing loss can be dismissed as natural signs of ageing. But without the right support, older people can feel shut out of hobbies and friendships they used to enjoy. 

That’s why Sense launched our Fill in the Gaps campaign in 2005, to raise awareness of the needs of over-60s who are deafblind and how we can all support them.

2001: The UK government introduces deafblind guidance for councils

In 1999 we launched the Yes to Access campaign. At the time, only one in eight deafblind people in the UK had access to specialist support. On 24 June 1999, we brought 100 deafblind people to Parliament to explain why they needed one-to-one support to take part in life. 

As a result of our campaign, the government published its deafblind guidance in 2001. This guidance means that local authorities legally must identify people who are deafblind and make sure they have the support they need. 

1989: Landmark legislation is published for children who are deafblind

Following years of Sense campaigns, the government published the first guidelines on the education of children who are deafblind.

1985: Sense Scotland is formed

Sense Scotland was launched in 1985 to support people who were deafblind in Scotland. Its very first staff member was Gillian Morbey. Gillian went on to become the Chief Executive of Sense Scotland, and then Sense UK (2010-2018). She was awarded an OBE in 1995. 

Visit the Sense Scotland website.

1955: Sense is founded

It all began with two mothers, Peggy Freeman and Margaret Brock, who fought tirelessly for support for their deafblind children. Read more about Sense’s story.