Scope names marketing boss to help counter “hardening” attitudes to disability

Scope has appointed a new permanent marketing boss with a brief to develop campaigns that build on the success last year’s Paralympics had in changing attitudes towards disabled people.

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Mark Atkinson is to join from Ambitious about Autism where he is currently director of external affairs in October. He replaces Jan Smith who has been in the director of communications and marketing role on an interim basis since April 2012.

He will oversee marketing and digital activity, brand development and PR.

Atkinson joins as the charoty marks 20 years since Scope rebranded from the Spastics Society. The charity says it wants the activity to prompt “another debate” about attitudes to disability following the attention disability issues received during last year’s Paralympic Games.

Scope’s chief executive Richard Hawkes says Government cuts have left some disabled people struggling and that marketing, led by Atkinson, can help highlight the problems they are facing.

“One year after the Paralympics, legacy for ordinary disabled people hangs in the balance. It’s never been more important that we work with disabled people to speak out on these issues. 

“If we want to make this country a better place for disabled people we have to do exceptional communications. The whole sector has to step-up. We have to speak loudly, with one voice and in ways that cut through to our audiences. 

“That’s why I’ve brought Mark in. Mark brings considerable knowledge and understanding of the disability sector and has strong ideas about the difference that Scope can make now and in the future.”

Prior to his three years at Ambitious about Autism, Atkinson was director of communications and policy for the Youth Sport Trust. He also had a four year stint as head of press and public affairs for Citizens Advice. 

Read our recent feature on whether brands are paying attention to disabled people a year after the Paralympic Games here. 

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