I recently gave an interview to a local reporter highlighting some of the issues that disabled people face when trying to book holidays and plan days out etc. I shared the online article a few days ago however a friend popped the original story from the newspaper through my door this week and it gives some more of the quotes and highlights some more issues and problems.
This can be further highlighted following on from today’s lunch. We were taking our LG to see Father Christmas this afternoon and since it was a bit of a trek that clashed with numerous medicine times we decided to have lunch before. We used good ol’ Google to find some places and I went through the usual rigmarole of phoning and emailing to make sure they were accessible. We settled on one place who said apart from a small step in which can get a wheelchair up easily it was fine. We arrived and the 3 disabled parking spaces put the front were full of 4 cars parked across the hatching (3 of which had no blue badges on display). My wife popped in to let them know of the problem the solution to them was to drop the disabled person off and they then gave her a pass for a nearby car park. One slight problem the disabled person was driving! Thanks to the motability scheme and some fantastic adaptations many disabled people can drive now!
I managed to abandon my car opposite the hotel outside a home being worked on and we crossed over the road and on to the path. Then we had to back up and go back on to the road. The entrance had some lovely wide doors unfortunately they were at the top of two steps. Luckily with the aid of two crutches and two family members I was able to get up these steps. We got indoors and we had a further 2 steps (pictured below) to negotiate to get to our table. Talk about disappointed 😞 the problem was the staff have seen some people in wheelchairs negotiate these steps quite easily for me not so. By the time we sat down to eat I was sweating buckets and in incredible pain. I then had to hold onto the need to go to the toilet as there was no disable toilet.
Now I have resisted naming the eatery as I believe it was ignorance that led them to say they were accessible, the staff were lovely and helpful and helped me in and out, and have no control over those abusing the blue badge bays and the food was very good. I do however wish they’d said we’re an old listed building and so there are these issues. I could have compensated with extra meds and so on or found somewhere more suitable. I will be emailing them giving them ideas as to how they can improve their access and be more open in the future. I understand that old listed buildings cannot make doors wider etc and accept it to a certain extent. It is however these sorts of issues that make planning holidays, trips etc so complicated. It is also why access groups are an important resource!