Accessing the local community
Posted on 3rd February 2020 at 13:36
Growing up with a disability is an extensive challenge, one of the biggest challenges people with disabilities face is accessing the local community and the local high streets and having access to everyday services such as shops, banks and hotels, not just physically and mentally but also emotionally for someone living with a disability.
It's estimated businesses could be losing out on a share of £60 million a day! If only we could encourage our local communities to see people as a commercial opportunity and therefor be more accessible.
Social attitudes towards disability
The image above shows the wheelchair table of one of our citizens who has a Power Chair, the person is wearing a 'Go Pro camera' on her chest, the 'Go Pro camera' image taken shows a car parked on the pavement blocking the pavement access for this wheelchair to get past. Despite their being a warning side on the road to notify motorists that there are Disabled People nearby. This parking shows a lack of understanding and compassion for people with disability and their needs to access the community.
Above: Uneven surfaces create obstacles those with mobility needs.
In 2018, CPM conducted research with University of Plymouth student James BoneHill for his Dissertation, the research was titled: “When people see people in wheelchairs, they don’t care a bit” Investigating the Mobility Experiences of people with Cerebral Palsy in Harborne.
The aim of the research was to identify issues with access and mobility that disabled citizens face when going out into the local community. As our centre is based in Harborne, Birmingham with a group of willing participants we investigated a few routes in Harborne wearing go pro cameras.
The Research identified three main issues;
Social attitudes towards people with disability
Lack of accessible businesses
Negotiating the street environment
Lack of accessible businesses
No ramp access
Narrow doors that cannot accommodate wheelchairs.
No provision made
Image below; Local High Street, all those buildings in red are not very accessible for people in Wheelchairs or with mobility impairments. In fact 54% were classified as 'Not Very Accessible' with challenges such as stepped entrance or with narrow, manual doors. Or no alternative entrance offered. This we believe is typical of most local High Streets in the UK.
Our Communities need to become more accessible & disabled friendly
Just outside Cerebral Palsy Midlands is Victoria Road, many cars park on the pavement without consideration for how a person in a wheelchair would get past, forcing them to go into the road.
Participant: “Because when the car is parked like that you can’t even get a wheelchair on the pavement. You have to go around the car and shoot around the side of the car. All the cars are parked on the pavement.”
Interviewer: Do you think people don’t think of other people then? So the driver of the car. Do you think they are not thinking about…”
Participant: “Yeah because they are not thinking.”
Part of our service at CPM is an ‘Access for All’ project
• The people that we work with would not be able to access any of the current community without the physical assistance from service providers such as ourselves.
• We believe that keeping our citizens active and involved in the community supports their well-being, independence and quality of life.
• Our ‘Access for All’ project supports disabled citizens to go out into the community, access essential services such as GP appointments or social worker assessments, daytrips and holiday provision.
• We have a bespoke care service, mobility transport, fully trained staff and volunteers to ensure that the complex needs of our disabled citizens are met and that they feel safe and secure.
• We want our citizens to have more opportunities to get out and to be able to meet new friends in the local community, share their experiences. Ultimately, we want our citizens to feel empowered.
• Our ‘Access for All’ project holistically addresses the barriers that our citizens face daily to become active members of the local community.
Businesses improve your accessibility!
According to Scope’s Family Resources Survey conducted in 2016/17, there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK and that figure has risen to over 14 million in the last three years. 19% of those people are working age adults who require access to their workplaces and this is why it is very important to make reasonable adjustments to improve accessibility of services for people with disabilities and mobility issues.
Although it has become a legal requirement for service providers to make sure their services are accessible to those with disabilities, many premises around the UK are still inaccessible and as a result of this, people with disabilities are missing out on the opportunities to access those services which often leads to them feeling discriminated against and let down.
According to Papworth Trust, the most commonly reported difficulties for people with disabilities in accessing goods and public services are
Pubs and restaurants (14%)
Accessibility is also one of the main reasons why people with disabilities are unemployed as they feel their accessibility needs have not been met by the workplace.
Education, leisure and transport services are also a common struggle for individuals with disabilities due to inaccessibility. It is a basic human right to have a social and domestic lifestyle and everyone regardless of ability should be able to access services within their local community.
For more information about accessibility in venues across the UK, please click on the following link DisabledGo.
Written and published by Ahmed Hassan
Work experience student
Digital marketing at UCB
Tagged as: Access, Accessing the community, Birmingham, blog, Disability, James Bonehill, Research, University of Plymouth
Share this post: