A plea to all venues to consider accessibility, from SWAD

Published on 12 January, 2024

We met with Lorraine in December 2023 and discussed the difficulties she can have as a wheelchair user getting out and about as much as she’d like. Although some buildings have ramps and lifts there are often issues in accessing the loos. Lorraine’s electric wheelchair is longer than others, so she needs to consider turning circles and angles, whether she’ll leave a dent in the doorway and more before visiting many venues.

There are millions of people with disabilities in the UK and if venues made some simple changes they could increase their clientele and receive ‘the purple pound’ – a term used for the spending power of people with a disability and their families.

Lorraine has been in venues where she couldn’t close the loo door behind her due to the layout. She says ‘I’ve lost my inhibitions’ when asking people for help, but many others haven’t. Sometimes the toilet roll is far away from the loo so people have to reach, meaning they risk falling off the seat.

Lorraine’s plea is a simple one – if venues could do a video of how to get in and out of their buildings, where the toilets are, what the reception area is like etc – it means people can plan their visits much more easily. Sharing this on websites means she wouldn’t have to call ahead to see if the venue is suitable for her to visit.

We’re asking all our members to consider your buildings, whatever they are used for, and to look again at how accessible and welcoming they are to all visitors. Could you take a few moments to make a film and share this on your website? Watch this space for our video of our offices sometime this year!

Lorraine recommends the following websites to find accessible venues, and is happy to chat with anyone who wants to make simple changes to improve accessibility via admin@swaddorset.org or  07758 724191

CAN Engagement Lead Hannah and SWAD’s Lorraine were featured on Hope FM on 29th November.