The second ever Disabled Access Day takes place this weekend (12th March) – a day that encourages people with disabilities to visit a venue that they have never been to before. The venue can be anything – a sports centre, coffee shop, cinema or anything in between. Over 100 locations are signed up to support Disabled Access Day this year, but if you have not heard of this day before then you are not alone. Read on to find out more about how it works and how you can get involved.
How did Disabled Access Day begin?
Paul Ralph, a power chair user and Euan’s Guide supporter, went to a ‘try it out’ day at his local bus company. There Paul was able to test out the bus ramps and ticketing system, and how his power chair would fit in the aisles. With a stationary bus to explore and staff on hand to help, Paul was able to familiarise himself with a transport mode that he had never before used, and is now a frequent bus user.
Having had this positive experience, Paul decided to to create a day that would be company and country wide, encouraging disabled people to try something new. And so, Disabled Access Day was born.
When was the first Disabled Access Day?
The first Disabled Access Day was 17th January 2015. This first event was really a pilot, with enthusiasm and drive dominating the day, instead of a plethora of resources. Those who attended ended the day with a new found vigour for improving disabled access across the country. The Disabled Access Day has now been moved to 12th March following feedback that January is too cold. From this year onwards, Disabled Access Day will be an annual event.
How Can I Help?
There are many opportunities for you to get involved. You can offer help by volunteering your time to organise events in your area, open up your business for events for the day or simply get involved by speaking out about the businesses you would like to visit on Disabled Access Day.
How do I plan an event?
First things first- get the ideas rolling, then register your event with Disabled Access Day. Once you are registered, you will be kept up to date with the developments of the day, some tips to make your day a success, customisable graphics for social media, template blog articles and an event pack to promote your event.
What about the rest of the year?
Although Disabled Access Day is only once a year, there are plenty of local communities across the UK pushing to make disabled access easier. Bracknell Forest Council is currently working to ensure that Bracknell Forest has opportunities for everyone. This is evidenced by the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership, and together they sponsor the Disabled Go access guide.
The Disabled Go access guide enables those with disabilities who live, work or visit Bracknell Forest to really explore what the region has to offer. The guide covers all kinds of venues, from entertainment, leisure facilities, public services, culture and shops to transport. You can use the guide to check the access possibilities for wheelchair users and people with physical and learning disabilities or sensory access apprehensions at your chosen venue. See if your community has any similar schemes in place.
If you, or anyone you know would like to get involved with Disabled Access Day – as a supporter putting on an event or a participant wanting to discover the local area, then visit the events page on the Disabled Access Day website.