Disabled Access Day coming up
We are fast approaching the second national Disabled Access Day, which takes place this year on 12th of March.
Disabled Access Day is sponsored by Euan’s Guide, the listing and review site that helps disabled people and their friends and families know which venues are truly accessible.
Kiki MacDonald, Co-Founder of Euan’s Guide, explains:
“We were inspired by the idea of Disabled Access Day and the potential for it to increase the numbers of conversations between venues and disabled people, as well as to raise the profile of disabled access. We were delighted by the backing from many venues, organisations and businesses that got involved, in particular their appetite to improve their own accessibility and to get more feedback from disabled people.
The first Disabled Access Day was really a pilot, achieved with very little resource but lots of drive to improve disabled access, to showcase some of the good practice and to try out some new places! Given the limited resources the project had, we were blown away by the results, and hope that next time will be much, much bigger.”
The story behind Disabled Access Day
Last year’s inaugural event came about after Paul Ralph, a powerchair user and Euan’s Guide supporter, went to a ‘try it out day’ at his hometown bus company. It was the first time he had even thought about using a bus, because he wasn’t sure how the ramp worked, how to get a ticket, and whether his power chair would fit on-board.
The demonstration organised by the local bus company gave him the opportunity to explore a stationary bus, with staff at hand to explain the process of getting on and off safely. After becoming familiar with the layout of the bus, and what you need to know as a wheelchair-using passenger, he is now a frequent traveller on buses.
Paul Ralph decided that it would be great if there were similar opportunities for companies to demonstrate their accessibility, and people with disabilities to try something new, happening across the country on one specific day. Disabled Access Day was the result.
Lots of different events around the country
There are more than 240 organisations taking part – hundreds of exciting independent venues, together with national chains such as Caffè Nero, Strada and Barclays Bank, John Lewis and the Three mobile operator. You can find out what’s going on near you, by searching for events on the Disabled Access Day website (it will open in a new browser window).
Hub cities with lots of activities going on this year include London, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Newcastle. In London alone, more than 40 venues are taking part, including popular sites of interest such as Tate Modern, Cutty Sark, National Theatre, Borough Market and more. Individuals taking part can also look forward to free activities and events all across the country, including games with the Disability Sports team at Leeds City Museum, free entrance to the Glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh or a tour and a dram at Tomatin Distillery near Inverness.
There are outdoor events being planned, at venues including Skylarks Nature Reserve, Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, and the Calvert Trust – so fingers crossed for properly accessible weather, as well!
A recent survey by Euan’s Guide found that 98% of disabled people, their friends, families and carers would be likely to return to places that have good accessibility.
You can follow developments on Twitter @Access_Day.
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