Photo of Scott WatkinFor the second year running, Scott Watkin BEM, Head of Engagement at SeeAbility, has been named as one of the most influential people with a disability in the UK, as part of The Power List 100.

The Shaw Trust Disability Power List 100 is an annual publication of the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK and in 2019, nearly 200 nominations were received for the 100 places.

In 2017, Scott won the Making a Difference award from the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards, and in 2018 he was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List. In 2019, his campaigning work as part of the team at SeeAbility contributed to an NHS policy change, meaning a whole generation of children with learning disabilities will get the eye care they vitally need.

Today Scott works with policymakers and ministers to ensure people with learning disabilities are represented, respected and heard in healthcare, social care and education, as well as in government and the media.

He also leads SeeAbility’s engagement programme where he is mentoring and supporting a team of a team of young people with lived experience of learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to become future leaders. The Associates as they are known, are learning new skills in campaigning, public speaking and leadership, so that they can they speak up and campaign on behalf of people with learning disabilities and help change society for the better. Read more from the Associates on their blog during lockdown, Coping through COVID-19.

When asked about the impact of Scott’s support both before and during the pandemic, one of the Associates, Greg said:

Scott has given me the confidence to go and learn new skills and take on influencing opportunities when I would have not done this myself. Scott has supported me through big challenges in my life as well as through the pandemic, to enable me to get my voice heard more than I would have been able to do on my own.

And another SeeAbility Associate, Emily, said:

Scott has supported and encouraged me to write blogs throughout the pandemic about the way COVID-19 has affected me. He set up weekly meetings so the team feel empowered and our voice is heard - this has led me to talk and influence alongside Scott.

Throughout the recent pandemic, Scott has worked tirelessly with the Associates, to maintain their profile via campaigning activity, blogging and contributing to virtual discussions.

Scott, who lives on the Isle of Wight, said:

I’m surprised but really excited and honoured to be included in the 2020 Disability Power List 100 for the second time! My teacher told me I would never get a job, never live independently and never have a family. I have since broken down every one of these barriers and am living proof of what can be achieved with the right support. I will always work to make sure people with learning disabilities have a voice and can make a difference.

Lisa Hopkins, SeeAbility CEO, said:

Congratulations to Scott for all he has achieved. Once again he has been rightly recognised for his outstanding commitment to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism. All of us at SeeAbility are incredibly proud and fortunate to call Scott our colleague.

Visit the Shaw Trust website to see the full Disability Power List 100