Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article, all views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger’s own.
There are over 14 million disabled people living in the UK, it’s safe to say have been adapting their lives for many years, already faced with restrictions, health anxieties and challenges. It’s just a part of everyday life. Amongst all the challenges we face I think we are very good at finding the positives and learning to adapt very quickly.
Even though shielding has come to an end several months ago. According to research from Scope, three out of four disabled people (myself included) still haven’t left the safety of our homes, until we’ve either had the second dose of the Covid vaccine or feel it’s safe to re-enter society.
Hi my name is Kerry, I have a rare form of muscular dystrophy a progressive muscle wasting condition I use a powered wheelchair full-time that act as my legs to keep my Independence and my favourite subject is ‘TOILETS’. Yes, toilets a strange subject to get my wheels all excited about, I know, but I’m not just talking about any old public loo. I’m talking about changing places toilets.
But before we talk why I’m hear with you. I want to talk what ‘happens next’. Like most in the disabled community I have not stopped shielding throughout. As restrictions ease that little bit more as the months seem to pass us by. I hope that the valuable lessons learned during this time won’t be forgotten.
As the world re-opens around me It’s easy to feel like your being left behind. While many people have already started socialising in pubs, restaurants and cinemas, for myself and many others it’s been 459 days, I have gone as far as the top of my street and still haven’t entered a shop, pub/restaurant or seen my family and friends!
But I have been thinking about all the accessible and non-accessible places to go when I do re-enter society. Before lockdown it was already hard enough to find an accessible place to go, with many places advertising themselves as accessible when in actual fact they’re not as accessible as they claim to be. From having steps at the entrance, doors not wide enough, to an accessible toilet being too small there are many reasons why a building is not accessible for disabled people and their families.
We can spend so much time planning by calling but still be turned away, leaving other to face the same issues. I value other people’s experiences when they have visited a business, especially when you’re disabled for me seeing what rating has been given on things like : accessible toilets, door access, parking facilities and level access are important. The higher the ‘Access Rating’ would mean the more accessible there business is.
The Purple Pound the term used to describe the spending power of disabled people and their families, at an estimated £249 billion a year and rising each year. My question is…
What happens now? Are the places that were already accessible ‘still accessible’ with the new rules and guidelines? Are one-way systems now in place. Are shop assistants and other workers still going to be able to help the disabled community if they need help? What happens when a wheelchair can’t social distance? And the places that were not accessible – are they now going to make themselves accessible to all?
If we can take anything from this last year, it’s understanding and the knowledge that we are capable of becoming more accessible; it just needed a pandemic for businesses to rethink. For years disabled people have been requesting more inclusion so isn’t it about time we where involved in how to make the world more accessible for ALL.
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