About Us

bespoken is an online community that seeks to share information, stimulate innovation and put people who have disabilities at the heart of the design process. We believe that the real experts on disabilities are the people who live with them. bespoken aims to bring together the collective experience and knowledge of its members to support and advise each other.

On bespoken you will find news updates from the world of assistive technology, independent product reviews by our members, as well as ample opportunity to contribute yourself either via our forums or your own personal blog.

 

Background on bespoken

 

bespoken was created by the Blackwood Foundation, a Scottish charity which in 2015 was integrated into its parent organisation Blackwood Homes and Care. Today bespoken is managed by Blackwood’s Research and Innovation department.

 

Born out of a series of workshops conducted in 2011, these demonstrated that people who have disabilities have an unparalleled knowledge and understanding of disability and independent living yet had nowhere to share advice and information.

 

It also became apparent that all too often, adaptations to enhance independent living are poorly suited to the job and the end users needed to be better included into the design process.

 

In both instances, bespoken aims to plug the gap.

 

Sounds great, but how can I get involved?

 

Step one is to sign up to bespoken so you can receive the weekly bulletin with news and updates of products, concepts and adaptations to enhance mobility and independence.

 

Step two is to get involved in the discussions. You can even start your own! What disability aids do you think could be improved on? What adaptation hasn’t been invented yet but should be?

 

You can use the private message function to chat to the bespoken Team or even email us at bespoken@blackwoodgroup.org.uk and enquire about doing any of the following…

 

Design and focus groups

 

We’ve done a number of focus groups over the years where we’ve stimulated discussion into action by bringing people who have disabilities together with product designers. Are you working on an idea and need some constructive feedback to help shape your concept?

 

Reviews

 

Fancy doing a review of a product or a venue? Determine the suitability, functionality or accessibility of it? We’ve had volunteers help out in the past to review the Edinburgh Fringe as well as the “Harley” mobility scooter. Why not do your own revue?

 

Overview of Blackwood

 

Bespoken is wholly owned by Blackwood Homes & Care which is one of Scotland’s leading providers of housing and care services. Blackwood is a Scotland wide organisation providing social housing for rent and care and support services particularly for those with disabilities. Blackwood has over 1,600 rented homes for tenants across 29 Scottish local authority areas. Blackwood also runs four dedicated care homes in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Greenock and Stirling.

 

Throughout its existence Blackwood has always placed a strong emphasis on innovative design to boost independent living and quality of life for people who have disabilities.

 

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