UK & World News
Adverts 'Should Feature More Disabled Children'
The owner of the UK's largest child talent and model agency says advertising companies should use disabled youngsters more often in campaigns.
Debi Clark has two disabled children on the books of her talent agency Bizzykids. But despite sending their details to advertisers, production companies and photographers, she has only had three requests for disabled children in 20 years.
She says: "It's great that they've broken the boundaries by using them at all, but what they do is they use them, and they hit the headlines, and it's sensationalising it, it's absolutely wonderful, great; but they're not used again."
Her comments come after clothing firm Boden used eight-year-old Holly Greenhow, who has athetoid cerebral palsy, in an online advertising campaign.
Last Christmas, Marks & Spencer used Seb White, who has Down's Syndrome, in one of their campaigns, and Francesca Griffiths, who has the same condition, was cast by Boots in their catalogue.
Holly's mother Fiona, 42, said: "It may be a token thing ... I'd like to think it wasn't ... If it does something to help promote children with learning difficulties in modelling, and make it more inclusive, then fantastic. I'd like her to do more of it as an ambassador."
Rosemary Frazer, community campaigns manager at disability charity Scope, said: "It's extremely rare indeed either in advertising campaigns or really anywhere in the media. You would struggle to find any disabled people - and that's a real shame.
"I think it's only through having that sort of high-profile role in the media that you begin to sort of challenge people's perceptions about disability, and actually then they can come to see that disabled people, like myself, we're very much like everybody else".
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