Fiona and Kerry tell us why they love #AccessDay!
Reproduced by kind permission of Habinteg - www.habinteg.org.uk
Disabled Access day – 16th March
Tomorrow is Disabled Access Day. At Habinteg we’re always striving to get the message of the need more accessible housing in the UK out there. We, and our training and consultancy arm, The Centre for Accessible Environments believe this message is inextricably linked with providing accessible environments that allow disabled people to live independent lives.
We asked a couple of our friends about their thoughts on the significance of the day for them. We’re proud to say they will both soon be members of a disability advisory group we’re currently in the process of setting up. Here’s what they had to say:
Fiona Anderson, disability rights activist
What are you doing on disabled access day?
“I am taking my children somewhere new on that day and will do a Euan's Guide review. I also intend to speak to a few local children's play centres to see if they'd be willing to put on an event or support Disabled Access Day in any way. It'd be amazing for both disabled children and disabled parents as far as children's activity centres go. Watch this space!”
“I've only become aware of this day within the past 6 months. I am so grateful that Disabled Access Day exists. People with disabilities are limited more by the environment being inaccessible, than by their actual condition, that's a fact! I used to say my disability meant I experienced great isolation when I was younger, until I really looked at my situation and realised the world just doesn't cater to us as you'd expect the Equality Act 2010 itself to implement. Having this day assures me and so many others with disabilities that, we matter and we are valued members of our local communities.
This day empowers us and brings us greater confidence that we can go out more spontaneously and explore more places we may not have had the courage to before, due to bad past experiences. Coming up against barrier after barrier when you're trying to do the simplest things like go out to lunch, meet a friend for coffee or in my case as a disabled parent - go to soft play or children's birthday parties.
It also brings people with disabilities together in the battle to make Britain more accessible, so that one day we may not have to worry if somewhere has a step or an accessible toilet. We shouldn't have to worry over things that other people do without a second thought, and those behind Disabled Access Day believe that too. We are united for change and that's what makes Disabled Access Day such a brilliant event!”
Shouldn’t everyday be a Disabled Access Day?
“Of course, but Rome wasn't built in a day! As much as we'd like our world to become completely accessible tomorrow, it's work in progress to get businesses, venues etc on board and educate them on why it's a good idea to become more inclusive. Having a Disabled Access Day is a great start on the path to inclusion.
I'd just like to add a massive thank you to the team making Disabled Access Day happen for going the extra mile by including Changing Places toilet facilities in their events criteria. For the 1/4 of a million profoundly disabled people in the UK who need more than grab rails to go to the loo, this is everything and more!
Including Changing Places means we can stay at events longer and not risk our health by restricting fluid intake, and generally just focus on having a good time with our families and friends, which is the most important thing.”
Kerry Thompson, Habinteg tenant, blogger and disability rights activist
“Access is still such an issue in many places still including; housing, changing places facilities, shops, restaurants and other venues. While many venues I want to visit have the access symbol on their website, I’ve come to find that often this doesn’t always guarantee that it’s the case.
Having Disabled Access day is a great way to break out of your normal 'safe places' to visit. It’s an incentive to explore new places and share your experiences with other disabled people and families. It’s also great for giving feedback to any venue on how they can improve. I hope it encourages more companies to make their businesses more accessible as well as show off the access they already provide.
Everyday should be a disabled access day!”