Disabled Access Day, the national annual initiative to raise awareness of the importance for inclusive access, returns for its second year tomorrow.
Take just a minute now to put yourself in the wheelchair of a disabled person. Just stop, and think. Imagine the worry of visiting somewhere new: ‘How will I get in? Will there be the necessary facilities? Will there be anyone that can assist me?’ Next step – you take a look at the website of the place you plan to visit. An access symbol appears, but there’s no information to tell you that it will be accessible enough for you. The anxiety stays until your visit is over, and enjoyed… until you know that that visit ranks 5✩ on the accessibility scale.
But shouldn’t access be for everyone, and every day? The journey to full accessibility and social inclusion for everyone started long ago, and undeniably we’re strides closer to full social inclusion than we were a decade ago.
Disabled Access Day was created after Paul Ralph, a power chair user and supporter of Euan’s Guide took part in a ‘try it out day’ with his local bus company. Prior to this, Paul had never used the bus network as he wasn’t sure how it catered for those with disabilities. Paul is now a frequent bus user.
From this, the idea of encouraging disabled people to try something new formed, and out of that came Disabled Access Day.
Kiki MacDonald of Euan’s Guide, the sponsor of Disabled Access Day says ‘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 raise the profile of disabled access.’
Aiming to encourage disabled people, their families and friends to visit somewhere new, Disabled Access Day is a fantastic opportunity to show everyone what is possible. It’s a good opportunity for venues to try something new and get first hand feedback. For individuals, the day is a perfect chance to gain confidence and discover new places to go – and what’s more, review them to make it easier for others with disabilities to find out about the accessibility of the venue.
Just one year on from its inaugural event, well over 200 venues will be taking the opportunity to get involved in the day and showcase their accessibility.
Here at Enable Access we’re fighting for every day to be Disabled Access Day. And we think we’re well on the way to getting there! We’d like to invite you to join us in supporting Disabled Access Day and ask you to consider ‘what can I do to join the fight for full accessibility and complete social inclusion’?