Social enterprise Access Rating has launched a new campaign called “What access means to me”, where people of the disability community share their thoughts on what access is to them. This could be having adequate wheelchair access in buildings, include Changing Places toilets in all venues, having information available in alternative formats, such as audio, braille and BSL, and reasonable adjustments for those with neurodiverse conditions.
The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of access in public places for disabled people. Access Rating wants to encourage venues to provide the reasonable adjustments needed, which will not only benefit disabled customers, but also boost sales in a venue’s business – also known as the Purple Pound.
The word “Access” is defined as “the means or opportunity to approach or enter a place”. Without the right kind of access, many disabled people miss out on attending events such as social gatherings, parties, shows and holidays. As part of the Equality Act 2010, public places have to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled customers to be able to enter and use its services.
There are 14 million disabled people across the UK who can offer a spending power of £250 billion a year. But without the right access needs in place, businesses are missing out on very high revenue and a loyal customer base.
As part of the “What access means to me” campaign, Access Rating is bringing the disability community together to share their thoughts and express what access means to them, in the hope public places will take their advice on board and begin to create access for disabled customers.
Disabled people from across the country in business, politics, sport, media, activism and entertainment have been sending videos of them sharing their personal thoughts and experiences of access.
Martyn Sibley – disability influencer, world changer, co-founder of online magazine Disability Horizons and now Access Rating’s new fellow director – was the first to give his insights into accessibility. In his video, he explains how it is not just physical barriers but social barriers too.
The Access Rating team have also received videos from Paralympian Stephen Miller, National Wheelchair Tennis Champion, James Shaw and Martyn Sibley plus many more, which you can watch on Access Rating’s social media channels.
You can also get involved in this campaign by recording your own videos explaining “What access means to me” and sending them to Access Rating.
Also please share this campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtags #WhatAccessMeansToMe #AccessForAll and #AccessRating.
Of course, bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels may not be open for a while due to COVID-19 lockdown measures. However, this is still the perfect time to campaign for better access so when lockdown measures are eventually lifted, everyone of all abilities can socialise together at their favourite venues.
Access Rating is all about taking the anxiety out of leaving the house for disabled people. Its mission is to collate access information about hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants.
With the Access Rating app, you can read and send access reviews about public places across the UK. The use of this app isn’t to shame venues but make positive change and encourage public places to provide the reasonable adjustments needed.
You can download the Access Rating app by visiting Google Play.