It’s Friday, you’ve worked hard all week so you deserve a few drinks! Going out with friends is something many people do to help relieve the stress and anxiety they’ve experienced all week to let off steam. For many disabled people though, a day or night out causes anxiety in itself.
Having the day off today, I decided to visit London. I started the day with being told at my departing train station that the connecting station had no knowledge of my arrival to provide mobility assistance to switch trains, to then not have anyone present to greet me in Euston, only for a passing by staff member to offer assistance by using the temporary ramp onboard and to his surprise, there was no ramp! I wonder what would’ve happened in the event of an evacuation requiring me to exit the train immediately?
The thought of being stranded on a train would make anyone feel uneasy, however examples like this are exactly why disabled people are discouraged from travelling. This was something I just experienced on an average day. I have learned to adapt and make do. Fortunately, my condition doesn’t prevent me from doing too much so I can get around things with some help. But 1 in 5 people are disabled and many of those would find this to be too much.
But is it just those 1 in 5? What about the people that may travel with them: their family, friends, carers. It has an impact on so many more people than one might think. If you add up the numbers, it is sure to be more than 1 in 5 for certain.
Disability brings in more than £40billion into the U.K. each year. Think of the revenue organisations could bring in by improving the accessibility of physical spaces and services they provide!
Things are improving, and they will continue to improve. So yes, in answer to my question from the outline, it is worth it as you have just as much of a right to expect organisations to accommodate your needs in order enjoy recreation and socialise as the next person. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight, keep turning up to places which aren’t accessible; showing your face and letting organisations see how they are making you and those with you struggle or lose out on your custom altogether and most importantly, don’t lose heart.