"There was no induction loop, so I couldn't hear what the bank clerk was explaining to me!"
Accessibility is not just about gaining entry!
"I was unable to pay at the till, as there were lots of boxes in front of the tills on the floor!"
"I couldn't get into the post office due to the steps. I had to do my transaction in the street!"
Accessibility in the 21st century, is not something disabled people should still be fighting for. But unfortunately we are. I created Accessibility Denied to bring awareness and hopefully change, to companies regarding accessibility and help them understand why it is so important to disabled people.
A lot of businesses still believe, as long as disabled people can gain access into your premises, then they have done all that is necessary to be "Accessible". Think again! It is important to remember, accessibility is not just about ramps and lifts (as only 8% of the disabled community are wheelchair users) or technology. You see, there are many forms of accessibility, businesses must conduct facility and technology assessments, review policies and practices as this will help identify any gaps that need to be fixed. With 13.9 million people living with a disability in the UK, access needs to represent more than just a small percentage of this figure.
Did you know , if you're a business who doesn't offer inclusive access, you are missing out on a slice of £249bn spending power of the disabled community in the UK!! Didn't think so!! Did you also know, that the government describes retailers as "dumb" for not recognising the importance of easy access on the high street. Again, didn't think so!! Finally, The Equality Act 2010 doesn't just suggest what you should do to be classed as accessible, it tells you what you MUST do by law, to be compliant. It is worth a read!
Reasonable adjustments - the first reasonable adjustment your company can make, would be to recognise possible obstacles and devise solutions to them. This would not only help you comply with the Equality Act 2010, it would also help your company avoid possible litigation by way of a worse service to disabled customers.
What do I do:
I challenge you - To give you a minuscule idea of how life can be for a disabled person, go around your shop, cafe or restaurant in a wheelchair and see the challenges wheelchair users face. Table height, shelf height, can you reach the card machine to pay, are there any obstacles in front of the tills? What can you change? Can't do that? Try this, use your elbow or a clenched fist rather than open hands and your fingers to open office doors, lock toilet doors, turn lights on and off. By doing this, you will very quickly learn how easy or hard it is for someone with manual dexterity to do these daily tasks. At the very least, accept the fact that life on a daily basis is extremely difficult for disabled people as it is. We have to plan every single journey we make, from locating disabled toilets, step free access, large print menu's to hearing loops. The added stress, trauma and pre-planning this gives us is unbelievably mind bending and until you yourself experience this, you can never understand what it is like to live with a disability. So many companies do not include such information on their websites, believing it not necessary. Well actually, it is very important indeed and part of the law now.
In this day and age, there is NO reason for inaccessibility, most companies are capable of including EVERYONE, they just choose NOT to. So for those of you out there, still refusing to offer this, you will probably find yourself on the guilty list. Disability is not the problem, Accessibility is!!!