UK charity SeeAbility challenges society to rethink disability as it celebrates 220th birthday with The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney

16 May 2019
Source: SeeAbility

High-profile supporters gather at Bank of England event to launch a year-long campaign celebrating the story of one of the UK’s oldest charities and all those it has helped

 16 May 2019 – SeeAbility, a charity providing specialised support and shaping policy to help people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, was recently joined by its Vice President Sir John Major, and Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, to celebrate its 220th birthday at the Bank of England. Sir John Major, Lisa Hopkins, Mark Carney, Gordon Ilett

Founded in 1799 and formerly The Royal School for the Blind, SeeAbility’s remit has broadened over the years. Now, the charity will focus on realising its vision of a society coming “together for inclusion”, in which everyone can participate as equal and valued citizens – in the workplace, in education, and in everyday life. SeeAbility Logo

In a world increasingly characterised by social division and uncertainty, SeeAbility’s ambition to create truly inclusive communities is more important than ever1:
1.4 million people are currently living with learning disabilities in the UK 

65% of people with learning disabilities say they want to work – but in some areas of the UK, as few as 6% have a paid job 

Up to 50% of people with learning disabilities experience chronic loneliness 

Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children2

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said: “It isn’t enough to reflect diversity; we also need to choose inclusion. That means embracing difference and promoting an environment that brings cognitive differences to the fore. I’m delighted to be hosting this event for SeeAbility who, like the Bank of England, are committed to creating a culture where everyone can maximise their potential”.

Sir John Major stated: “We need to shine a light on people’s abilities and create partnerships to deliver equal participation. In a society increasingly characterised by social division and uncertainty, this is our ambition for inclusivity”.

Speaking after the Bank of England event, Lisa Hopkins, CEO of SeeAbility, commented: “Over the last 220 years, SeeAbility has witnessed some incredible personal stories of triumph. We’ve seen ambition in the place of defeat and confidence emerge where it once never existed. As we celebrate these successes, it’s only right that we set our sights on achieving even more ambitious futures for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss.”

1 Unless marked otherwise – Source: Mencap Research & Statistics

2 SeeAbility report, Delivering an equal right to sight

SeeAbility cannot achieve this ambition alone. The charity needs commitment from partners to create opportunities for the people it supports, it needs new allies to champion inclusion in their own businesses, networks, and communities, and it needs funds to enable continued support for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to achieve their goals.
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