My beef with Children In Need

OK. So I dont deny that charities fund some good things. However, I am critical of charities, especially charities such as Children in Need for a number of reasons:

1. People living in this country (and others countries) are not having their needs met so they can fully access society and meaningfully participate within it. In a pre-revolutionary society, the good things that CiN fund should be funded by the government, by raising taxes from the rich, and not be funded by the spare change and hard work of working class people who are already fucked over.

2. CiN give a platform for self-serving celebrities who are sitting on vast amounts of wealth the opportunity to extract money out of significantly less wealthy people watching them on tv. Of particular annoyance this year is the platform given to Gary Barlow, who a few months ago was telling everyone to vote for the tories, the party forcing disabled people into workfare schemes and making cuts to healthcare and welfare and now is asking working people to spare a little change to make up the difference now budgets are being slashed.

3. The charity model of disability is deeply flawed on a number of ways, not least in that it sets disabled people up to be pitied by non-disabled people, as victims of their impairments. The reality is that whilst impairments can be difficult to live with, what really stops people from accessing society is the barriers that society puts up; attutudinal, environmental and institutional. Is a person who cannot walk disabled if society is geared up to meet that persons access needs in a holistic manner? This is the basis of the social model of disability.

4. Lack of Agency – most charities taking on issues around disability are ran by non-disabled people. There is no agency here. The model of disabilty that pretty much everyone in the disabled movement advocate for is the social/rights based model, one which seeks barriers to access to be removed and disability to be seen as an issue of meeting peoples basic human rights and treating people with dignity. An organisation ran by disabled people themselves would be a much better to support. Imagine an anti-racism campaign ran by white people which promoted pitying people of colour and didnt give people of colour a decent role in the strategic direction of the organisation. Same deal.

5. The charity model promotes “disabled issues” as things that most people engage with by giving money once a year, instead of engaging with all year round to fundamentally change the attitudinal, environmental and institutional barriers that disabled people face. None-disabled people are then free to not engage with issues at other times of the year, or just sent money and not change their attitudes.

6. CiN actually waste fuck tonnes of money – its really not an efficient way of giving money.

7. Many charities actually fund institutions which directly harm disabled people, either through mistreatment or by taking decision power away from disabled people. The charity model largely sees disabled people as victims who should be “looked after” in “special institutions” which separate them from the rest of society, often without actually asking the disabled person how they want to live their lives.

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    • Suyin Jordan
    • November 19th, 2011

    I agree with what you write fundamentally, but it’s not a black and white as you put it, and I too disagree with Pudsey, though a lot of organisations have benefitted from CiN…. the fact that people can donate to this means the govt has no reason to do more…

  1. Very good blog article.Thanks Again.

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