Lead Scotland aims to widen access to learning for disabled people across Scotland..... find out more

Lead Scotland

Lead Times
December 2016

Keeping you up to date with the latest developments in learning & disability

Daniel Johnson cutting the ribbon at Lead's new office with Lead HO staff in the background

Picture of the front of HMP Grampian prison

Picture of Emma Whitelock sitting on the panel at the Unesco conference

Image of the Eiffel tower in Paris

Gold and white decorative image of snowflakes and a christmas tree


In this issue.....


>> News from Lead

Daniel Johnson, MSP opens Lead's new Edinburgh head office

New Vacancy for Sessional Tutor at HMP & YOI Grampian, Peterhead

Updated guide to charitable trusts providing individual educational grants

Lead Scotland provides oral evidence to the Equalities & Human Rights Committee on disabled people's access to university

Lead Scotland's CEO speaks about e-learning and the digital divide at UNESCO's International conference in Paris

Group of carers raise money for their peers as part of Lead's CALA course 

Season's Greetings from Lead Scotland


>> Other News

News from Lead

Daniel Johnson, MSP opens Lead's new Edinburgh Head Office

Picture of Daniel Johnson with Lead Scotland staff at the HO opening

After nine years at Shandwick Place, we were given our notice to make way for a(nother) swanky hotel in the heart of Edinburgh's west end. While change can be difficult at first, it was a fantastic opportunity to review our needs, recycle and donate old IT equipment and downsize to smaller premises. Our new office is based within Napier University's Merchiston campus and we are absolutely delighted to be Napier's first Charity co-located partner. We were very lucky to welcome the local constituency MSP, Daniel Johnson, to officially open the office and draw the first ticket of our charity prize draw which raised over £400. As a member of the Education & Skills Committee at the Scottish Parliament, Mr Johnson was keen to hear about the work we do to support disabled people and carers to learn and feel more included in their communities - both locally and nationally. Our Fife Befriending coordinator, Louise Andree joined us for the event to take the opportunity to ask Mr Johnson to sign the Befriending Network pledge to help tackle loneliness.


New Vacancy for Sessional Tutor at HMP & YOI Grampian in Peterhead

We have an exciting new opportunity for an enthusiastic Self Employed Sessional Tutor to deliver Lead Scotland’s SCQF level 3 Community Action and Leadership Award to a group of learners in HMP & YOI Grampian Prison in Peterhead.  The course delivery is part of a project funded by Big Lottery Scotland Investing in Ideas to develop and tailor the course for use in a prison setting.

To find out more about the vacancy for a sessional tutor and to access the application pack, click here

Update to our guide to charitable trusts providing individual educational grants

Front cover of our new trusts guide which is of one of our learners learning how to use the computer

In our September newsletter we launched our guide to charitable trusts, the newest addition to our list of free downloadable guides. Our team have been working hard to ensure the guide is as up to date and accessible as possible, so the latest version is now available to download for free on our website. The guide is especially useful for individuals in need of financial help towards educational costs that are not covered by public funding. The guide is split up into national trusts and as well as by geographical area, so you can quickly click on the area you live in to view details of all the local trusts providing grants along with who and what they will provide funding for. The guide also details trusts that specifically fund learners who have additional support for learning/special educational needs and also covers grants for school children as well as for young people and adults in post-school learning. The guide has been created as a PDF but if you require it in a different format please phone 0131 228 9441 or email 

Click here to access our updated Grants for Individuals guide

Lead Scotland provides evidence to Equalities & Human Rights Committee

Bird's eye view of the Equalities & Human rights committee session on 1st December sitting round a table at the Scottish Parliament

Our Senior Policy & Information Officer, Rebecca Scarlett, was recently approached by the Equalities & Human Rights Committee at the Scottish Parliament and asked to provide written and oral evidence on their scrutiny of the 2017/18 draft budget. The committee are gathering evidence on disabled people's and BSL user's experiences of applying to and attending Scottish universities, to determine whether public funding could be better used to help widen access to university for disabled people. Rebecca drew from evidence coming through our disabled student's helpline to reflect some of the common issues disabled people are experiencing when trying to get to and stay at Scottish universities. The rest of the panel was made up of disabled student representatives and their testimonies echoed a lot of the points Rebecca raised both in her written and oral submissions. Common themes included concerns around the delays in obtaining the Disabled Student's Allowance, difficulties in accessing effective and appropriate reasonable adjustments and lack of disability awareness amongst academic staff.

You can view the full video of Rebecca providing evidence to the Equalities & Human Rights Committee in English and BSL here

Click here to read more about the Equality & Human Rights Committee's inquiry into widening access to university for disabled people

Lead Scotland's CEO speaks about e-learning and the digital divide at UNESCO's international conference in Paris

Unesco conference with a view of attendees, the panel and Emma Whitelock's power point presentation Image of Emma at the unesco conference holding up a card with a quote on it from one of our learners saying, before I found it (technology) baffling and frightening. It increased my confidence."

Lead Scotland's Chief Executive Officer, Emma Whitelock, was delighted to be invited to give a presentation and be part of a panel session at UNESCO's international conference, “The challenge of the digital revolution for Non Government Organisations (NGOs)” in Paris last week, kindly sponsored by Soroptomist International. Emma talked about the potential e-learning has to widen access to learning for disabled people while also highlighting the need for improved digital inclusion in her talk, “Does e-learning address challenges of education systems worldwide?” Emma points out that advances in digital technology have actually served to further exclude disabled people, stressing the practice of inclusion by default and involving disabled people in the design of services as the starting point. Emma writes in her blog,

"Despite improved connectivity across Scotland many disabled people are not online or lack basic digital skills, experiencing barriers such as lack of access, support, motivation and low income. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Annual Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion Report 2016 found that “half of people living in poverty are either themselves disabled or are living with a disabled person in their household”. Improved education can lead to economic empowerment as a route out of poverty." 

Click here to read Emma's full blog on the UNESCO conference and her observations from the day

Group of Carers raise money for their peers as part of Lead's CALA course

Image of a newspaper article about the CALA carer's bake sale

A group of young carers from Easter Ross undertaking Lead Scotland's SCQF Level 3 Community Action and Leadership Award have raised more than £100 from a bake sale they organised as part of Carer's Rights Day. In the second unit of the course, learners develop their understanding of what it means to be an active citizen before choosing a piece of voluntary work that will have an impact on their community. The group of learners decided to raise money for Connecting Young Carers (CYC), a charity supporting young carers in the Highlands in order to raise awareness of the charity and give something back to their local community. Following their bake sale, an anonymous donor contributed another £100 towards their campaign, bringing the total to over £200! A huge well done to this group of young carers who have managed to balance the organisation and delivery of their fundraising event while keeping up their school work! Amazing!

Season's Greetings from Lead Scotland

gold and white decorative christmas image of snowflakes and a tree

Everyone at Lead Scotland would like to wish all of our e-bulletin subscribers warm wishes for the festive season and to thank you for your continued support and interest in the work we do. Our head office will be shut from 4.30pm on Friday 23rd December and will re-open again at 9am on Wednesday 4th January 2017. Happy holidays!


Other news


New Disability Agenda Scotland report reveals disabled people still face significant discrimination, poverty and prejudice

Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS), have published a new report, 'Equal? Still not, why not?', which reveals people in Scotland still face significant discrimination, poverty and prejudice when trying to access services, work and education.

DAS is a coalition of six of the leading disability charities in Scotland - Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, Capability Scotland, ENABLE, RNIB Scotland, SAMH (Scottish Action on Mental Health) and Sense Scotland. Working closely with the thousands of disabled children, young people and adults, families and carers involved with the member organisations, DAS aims to:

Influence public policy and legislation to help disabled people and the people around them.

Provide a forum for decision makers and influencers to obtain advice and information.

Promote a better understanding of the diverse experiences, needs and aspirations of disabled people.

Click here to access the full DAS report, 'Equal? Still not, why not?', which is available in a variety of formats

Scottish Government publishes plan for disabled people's rights

The Scottish Government have unveiled their plans to improve the rights of disabled people under the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in their report, 'A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People'. The plan lays out five key ambitions they want to achieve in order to progress social justice and equality for disabled people. The objectives are underpinned by 93 specific actions and aim to support independent living, ensure decent incomes and fair working lives, improve accessibility, protect rights and promote active citizenship. The plan is rightly ambitious and sets a precedent for the level of commitment and investment required to drive forward long lasting positive change for disabled people. Lead Scotland responded to the consultation on the government's draft delivery plan in January this year, and are pleased to see some bold commitments pledged to address the disability employment gap, including increased funding for disabled people to take up a Modern Apprenticeship until the age of 30 and promotion of the highly successful Project Search model, which supports people with autism and learning disabilities to find sustainable employment. 

Click here to read the Scottish Government's full plan, A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People.

Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland for disabled people

The Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland has been set up to offer financial assistance to disabled people who are seeking selection or have already been selected to stand in the 2017 Scottish Local Authority Elections. The Fund is available to pay for practical support that can enable disabled people to fully participate in the process, covering “reasonable adjustments” that level the playing field between a disabled and non-disabled candidate only, not general campaign costs. This project is funded by the Scottish Government. The Fund is now open for enquiries and will run until May 2017.

Click here to find out more about the Access to elected office fund and to make an application via Inclusion Scotland

Events, training & information 


Sight Scotland Apps Club

Find out everything you ever wanted to know about apps at the SITE Apps Club. From apps that enhance text, to reading a newspaper back to you. There is an app for everything. The Apps Club continues on Wednesday 25th January 2017 from 10.00am - 12pm. Come along to the Oasis Café in the Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JP.  To book or find out more contact by emails or by calling 0141 332 0983. Sight Scotland support people with sight loss.

Click here to read more about Sight Scotland


Generations Working Together Conference

Wednesday 8th March 2017, 10.00am - 4pm at Stirling Court Hotel, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA (£30)

Generations Working Together (GWT) is delighted to invite you to book your place at their National Conference. The programme is one of their most exciting yet with speakers and facilitators from across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Spain.

Professor Mariano Sanchez (University of Granada) is back for another year to talk about his Intergenerational School project and also to help launch a new online training course. Tom Peterson and colleagues are traveling up from Oxford Academy to report on their very successful Old School project which was televised for the BBC last year (you may remember the Hairy Bikers). From Scotland they have Richard Leckerman from Alzheimer Scotland who will highlight how intergenerational approaches benefit dementia friendly communities & Stuart Miller from the Food Train will inspire you with their Meal Makers project which brings together those who love to cook and share food, with older people.

Click here to find out more about the Generations Working together conference and to book a place

Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living Workshops

LCIL will be hosting a number of diverse events and workshops in 2017 including sessions on school transitions for young people with additional support needs, workshops for carers and carer parents, knowing your rights, assertive communication, employment law and many more. All events are free, lunch and/or refreshments are provided and transport costs can be covered if you live in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Click here to find out more about Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living's programme of events and workshops

Internet Safety Course for people with additional support needs in North Lanarkshire

New College Lanarkshire are delivering a course for people with additional support needs to promote their enjoyment of using the internet in the safest way possible.
The course will start on 6th February 2017 and continues on Mondays at 2pm for 10 weeks. It will include the following areas of internet use:
  • Friendships
  • Money & Shopping
  • Chat & Communication
  • Security
  • Meeting in real life
  • Taking photos/video
  • Personal Information
  • Smartphone Safety
  • Cyber bullying
  • Online Gaming
For more information please contact Katie Ballantyne at or 01698 212 809. 

New Digital Accessibility Toolkit for education leaders

The Center of Technology & Disability and the Consortium on School Networking have produced a new guide on integrating accessibility into education in the United States. ‘Digital Accessibility Toolkit: What Education Leaders Need to Know’ features information on accessible learning for students with a range of impairments. The toolkit offers resources, tips, and information for education leaders that can provide guidance on how to ensure accessibility is part of the educational equation. The goal is to support leaders in being proactive instead of reactive. The four sections of the toolkit define accessibility and share why this effort is important today, identify the legal requirements for digital accessibility, describe the benefits of digital accessibility, and explain the procurement of accessible technology.

Click here to access the Digital Accessibility Toolkit

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