Wed 16 Mar 2022

Disabled Access Day

Disabled Access Day encourages people with disabilities to try something new and share their experience on social media.  It is also a timely reminder of the reasonable adjustments that employers and service providers need to consider making to their premises and other aspects of their operations to enable better disability access.  

Having had a hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Disabled Access Day returns on 16 March 2022.  It was the brainchild of Edinburgh based wheelchair user Paul Ralph who had been deterred from travelling by bus due to a concern as to whether or not it was possible to get the chair on and off the vehicle.  However, having been to an open day at Lothian buses where he was able to try out the wheelchair access away from the rush hour hustle and bustle, Paul recognised how important the opportunity for people with disabilities to try something new and see how they got on was.  Paul has subsequently become a regular bus user, and, working with Euan's a website where people with disabilities and their families can leave disabled access reviews, Disabled Access Day has led to organised "try something new" events and opportunities for  people with disabilities throughout the UK. 

The last Disabled Access Day took place in 2019 and saw 154 venues open their doors to over 13,000 people with disabilities and their families. 2019 Disabled Access Day also highlighted the importance of Changing Places facilities by asking all venues taking part to either have or be located near to such a facility.  Changing Places are accessible toilets for people with profound and multiple disabilities.  They have all the necessary equipment and space to ensure people with disabilities and their carers can use them comfortably and safely.

Although a biennial event, each Disabled Access Day has a continuing legacy.  By leaving reviews of their experiences on Euan's Guide those taking part can reassure and encourage others to follow in their footsteps and visit new places or try out new activities on any day of the year. Employers and service providers have certain duties to make reasonable adjustments to many aspects of their operations as well as to their premises in order to give people with disabilities access on the same basis as others as far as is possible to do so.  If you would like any advice about the extent of your duties in this area please contact Sarah Gilzean

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