As per usual, my day began in tremendous pain, as a result of going out last night- (every action has a consequence in my life and I'm afraid the consequence is almost undoubtedly unrelenting pain.). After not being able to sleep until 5am thanks to said unrelenting pain, (and then having to wake two hours later to take more morphine); I then as always had to sleep until midday too receive the necessary seven hours rest that I needed to cope with my day.
When I did finally wake at midday, (which is actually relatively early for me as I'm often I'm awake all night until 8 or 9am), it was with a mixture of gratitude that I had been blessed with another beautiful day on this wonderful Earth, and frustration that a chunk of that wonderful day had already gone!
Determined to make up for lost time, I excitedly set about using my husband as a sounding board for my ideas that came to me last night after my disastrous evening of access issues.
If you read last night's post you will be aware that I had planned to go to my friend's birthday drinks last night in a bar/club in Soho. Before I set out on my journey across London, I thankfully remembered the golden rule of going out when your disabled and rang the venue only to be told a simple 'No', they did not have any access for me. As simple as that; no 'sorry', or '...we have a portable ramp that may be of some use?'- nothing! Apparently it has become acceptable for businesses to have insufficient access, despite the law saying otherwise!
Despondent and disappointed I set about making new plans, so as not to waste my reasonably well and pain free evening. To add insult to injury, the substitute restaurant that we decided to visit, ended up having six steps to the front door and when I asked if there were a ramp I was told, 'No, we've only been open five weeks', as if that were an adequate excuse to discriminate against those who simply can not use steps!
The idea that came about as a consequence of last night's sequence of events, ( prior to the above I also had an access issue on a London bus); was to start a campaign to tackle the complacency that has come about over the last six years, that it is somehow acceptable to allow businesses and public buildings to have insufficient access for those with disabilities.
I appreciate that local authorities don't wish to embark upon litigation against every small retailer in their borough as this understandably comes down as always to cost- but if we come together as a united voice to highlight the fact that this issue is becoming out of hand, then I truly believe that we can make a difference!
After the DDA was passed in 2005 there was an initial push to make improvements to the access of many larger businesses, (and some small to be fair), and money was put into insuring that they had disabled toilets and ramps for access. I believe that after this initial burst of activity, I believe that people have become relaxed and unconcerned as there appears to be nobody out there anymore actively enforcing the law.
I would LOVE to hear from one or more of you that I am wrong and that you know of people actively ensuring that this law is being upheld, but I can assure that in my area of London and the areas of London that I visit, (along with the areas of Devon, Hampshire and Wiltshire that we also visit regularly), people are not making adequate and reasonable adjustments to there buildings which is just so sad and so disappointing!
With my hastily named campaign 'No Access? No Excuse! I aim to compile a list of names, addresses & photos of businesses that could be accessible, but choose not to bother. I plan to aim high with this, as I believe that this problem should never of got so bad. If it is in anyway possible, then I will take this list all the way to government. Lets name & shame the bad & praise the good who do go out of their way to help. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
uk with the examples of shocking access issues that you encounter to help create this list of the thousands that I'm sure are out there.
I'd also like to praise the examples of brilliant assistance on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002588247268 so that we can compile a list of businsesses that we can feel confident of being accessible and helpful.
I would dearly love for you to join me on this quest. If we all just add one inadequate business to the list at email@example.com , then between all of Discover Disability's Twitter, Facebook and main blog page supporters, we could potentially have a few thousand before we even put in any real effort.
Apologies again for the extent of this, a much more sober rant than last night's- however still clearly focused on the subject of this issue that has got under and irritated my already painful skin!
Have a wonderful relaxing Sunday, without hopefully any issues of access for any of you- (perhaps a little too ambitious a wish, but we shall be positive nonetheless!).
Today I am thankful for those of you who have already got on board with my campaign to make an important difference in this all to often unfair and discriminatory world. Your support has made me smile today- thank you again, Karen. x