Feb 27

Disability Access Day 2020

Matthew

Disabled Access Day began in 2015 as a day to celebrate good access and to create opportunities for people to try something new. 2020 Disabled Access Day is 16 March, and like previous years, the day will be about highlighting the amazing access that already exists in places, such as touch tours, relaxed performances, sensory experiences, level access, and a warm welcome for all.

Disabled Access Day is sponsored by Euan’s Guide: a listing and review site that helps disabled people, their friends and families know which venues that are accessible.

The day began when founder Paul Ralph visited an open day event at the Lothian Bus depot, in his hometown of Edinburgh. He had known that Lothian Buses were wheelchair accessible, but had yet to try for himself. The open day let him explore the disabled access on a double decker bus, and to gain the knowledge he had access to all buses, and greater freedom for travel.

The experience became an idea that there should be many more opportunities for disabled people to see and try things that they hadn’t done before. The day focuses on ‘try something new’ experiences and opportunities, that would otherwise be difficult to arrange.

Many places up and down the country will be having their own disabled access events, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, which will have touch tours and BSL signed tours throughout the day for the disabled and their families. The Disability Access Day website is currently holding a survey to find what experiences people would like to explore.

If you’re looking to have increased access in your bathroom, then get in touch today to find out more about our easy access showers and disability baths.

Feb 10

Artist Designs Hotel Room To Highlight Difficulties Facing The Disabled

Matthew

Spending the night away in a hotel might sound like the relaxing retreat we all need, but for those with a disability, it can often be an isolating, humiliating and uncomfortable experience. Fine Art graduate, Christopher Samuel who, as wheelchair user, knows this too well having stayed in places that were unfit for his needs.

Christopher decided to highlight these barriers in his latest conceptual artwork, a hotel room design to be deliberately awkward and inaccessible, ironically named the Welcome Inn. He was commissioned to create the room at Art B&B in Blackpool by Unlimited, a programme that supports creative projects by disabled artists.

It features a bed that’s abnormally high, a bathroom door that doesn’t shut properly, so it gets in the way when reaching for toilet roll, and curtains that don’t close properly ensuring there is always a flood of light in the room. Everything is designed to cause frustration at the simplest of tasks, whether switching lights on or watching TV.

“I knew people would find it amusing at first, but in reality when you live that every day it’s not funny any more,” he told the BBC. “It’s inconvenient, it’s frustrating, it’s humiliating at times.”

“I wanted it to be slightly theatrical and humorous to get people’s attention,” explained Christopher. “On the first night that guests stay they think it’s funny but by the second or third night they realise it’s actually very annoying and inconvenient. That’s when the novelty wears off.”

Christopher has a condition called Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease (CMT), which causes damage to the peripheral nerves found outside the main central nervous system that control the muscles and relay sensory information to the brain.

If you’re wanting to make your home more accessible, then visit us today for a range of walk-in and disability baths.

Jan 30

York Bids For Electric Shuttle To Improve Disabled Access

Matthew

Disabled people living in York might soon be able to get around the city centre more easily, as it has put in a bid for a driverless electric shuttle service.

This would enable Blue Badge holders to access pedestrianised streets, facilitating their ability to move around the ancient city, reported the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The £4 million trial would be a pilot to see how successful such a scheme would work, with the proposals – part of the West Yorkshire combined Authority’s Leeds City Region Future Mobility Zone plans – being the first of its kind in the world.

According to the bid: “This unique proposal, targeted at customers with visible and hidden disabilities, will test for the first time automated solutions for these groups – learning that could be critical in addressing increasing Social Care and Special Education Needs transport in the future.”

It is thought that more than 20,000 locals would benefit from the shuttle within the city, while a dedicated Park & Ride service enables them to get into York in the first place.

The Yorkshire area could be chosen due to its high tourist numbers, allowing lots of Blue Badge visitors to benefit from the service while enjoying a trip to the historic city.

Jackie Chapman, from the York and District MS Society, praised the bid, saying: “It’s horrendous pushing a wheelchair in York because of the cobbles and narrow streets – wheelchairs are not sprung.”

While the shuttles would be driverless, they would have customer care assistants to help passengers if needed.

The issue of accessibility is a major problem in the UK, and Coronation Street actress Cherylee Houston recently said she finds it difficult getting around in public because of a lack of provisions in shops and on public transport, reported Digital Spy.

To have better accessibility around your home, consider an inflatable bath lift.

Dec 19

How Chess Is Changing Disabled People’s Lives For The Better

Matthew

You might not make a connection between chess and improving life for people with disabilities, but an international chess tournament for disabled players has recently shown how playing the game can bring real benefits to people.

Anadolu Agency reported on the first Confederation Cup for disabled people organised by the Chess Federation (FIDE). The tournament was hosted earlier this month in Turkey, with 30 people from all over the world participating.

Campos Eugenio, a 44-year old chess player from Angola and one of the competitors at the event, explained why he thinks it’s so important to encourage people from all walks of life to play chess.

“Chess is an activity that creates equality among people. We sit at the same table to play chess. It is important to get people closer together through chess. Chess is a chance to fight discrimination,” he told the news provider.

Those taking part in the tournament have a range of disabilities, including physical disabilities, vision impairment and hearing impairment.

A game like chess can help to make people aware of different disabilities and the impact they can have on everyday tasks.

Earlier in December, the UN marked the International Day of People with Disabilities. Newsround reported that the organisation has celebrated the day every year on 3 December since 1992.

It was established to celebrate the achievements of disabled people around the world, as well as to promote disabled rights. According to UN figures, approximately one billion people worldwide experience some form of disability.

If you think that shower seats would make your life easier and give you greater independence, contact us today to find out about our range of easy access bathroom products.

Dec 10

UK Disability Access Is Poor, Says Coronation Street Star

Matthew

Venues around the UK are not doing enough to provide access to disabled people, according to a Coronation Street actress.

Cherylee Houston, who has to use a wheelchair to get around, told ITV she struggles in public due to a lack of provisions made for those with mobility problems, Digital Spy reported.

She said disabled people get used to not being able to go into shops or hotels or on certain types of public transport.

However, it ends up inhibiting those with disabilities from taking part in society, as there are so many restrictions for them.

“Living in a community is making it really difficult for us, because we’re spending a lot of our time trying to get places. I always have to leave an hour earlier than anyone else just in case that taxi won’t turn up,” the actress, who plays Izzy Armstrong in the soap, said.

This comes just a week after the 45-year-old told her social media followers she could not stay in a hotel she had booked due to a lack of accessibility.

She tweeted that the venue had asked if her wheelchair would be able to go up steps, to which she replied, ‘no’. After this, she was asked if she would mind being lifted every time she entered and exited the hotel – a comment that left the star in “tears of frustration”.

“Again access has made things really difficult for me just to get on with my life,” the star wrote on Twitter.

Houston was diagnosed with degenerative disorder Ehlers-Danlos at the age of 23, with this condition making connective tissues weaker. The actress, who has type III hypermobility, said the illness has left her “continually in pain”, the Express reported.

While disability access in public places might still need major improvement, you can make sure your own home is as accessible as possible by installing a walk in bath. Take a look at some options here.

Nov 21

UK Landmarks Show Support For Better Disability Access

Matthew

Major landmarks across the country have thrown themselves behind a campaign to improve disability access in shops.

Among the sites that took part in Purple Tuesday last week (November 12th) was Blackpool Tower, which was entirely lit up in purple, ITV News reported.

This was aimed at making more retail premises and businesses aware of the importance of improving access for disabled customers and clients.

A spokesperson for the campaign stated: “Purple Tuesday is about creating a step change improvement in the awareness of the value and needs of disabled customers. It is about making the customer experience accessible.”

This comes after findings revealed 75 per cent of disabled people have had to exit a store or stop using a website, as their disability has meant they have been unable to go ahead with the purchase due to poor customer service.

This is despite the Purple Pound, which represents the spending power of disabled people and families, reaching £249 billion in the UK and £2.25 trillion across the world. While this is rising by 14 per cent per year in Britain, fewer than one in ten global businesses target the disability market appropriately.

As well as Blackpool Tower, M&S has shown its commitment to the cause and recently ran its own campaign ‘Making Every day Accessible’. This involved it introducing a new ‘hard of hearing’ uniform, providing resources for staff, and running sensory-friendly shopping hours.

This demonstrates M&S’ pledge to become “the UK’s most accessible retailer”, having launched daywear for children with disabilities last year and introducing sunflower lanyards for kids with hidden disabilities, so staff can give them extra support when shopping.

As well as stores becoming more accessible, disabled people need to make improvements at home so they can enjoy freedom and independence in their own residence. Fitting inflatable bath lifts, for instance, allows them to bathe unaided, which is a much-desired privilege for many people with disabilities.

Oct 23

Survey Launched To Discover Truth Behind Disability Access

Matthew

A survey has been launched to determine what disabled people think about access in public places and whether it has improved in the last year.

Euan’s Guide’s UK Access Survey has been established to support Disabled Access Day, which raises awareness of the need to improve disabled access in public areas.

“We’re asking what’s good and not so good about access at the places you visit. By taking part in this survey, you’ll be joining hundreds of other disabled people in having their say about access provision in the UK and beyond,” a spokesperson for Euan’s Guide stated.

Disabled people, as well as their friends and family, and those who work closely with them, can take part in the questionnaire, and four respondents will be randomly chosen to win a £25 Amazon voucher.

The public has been asked their opinions as part of the survey for the last five years, and more than 900 responded to last year’s questions.

In 2018, the survey revealed 94 per cent of respondents look for disabled access information about a venue before visiting; 88 per cent are more likely to go somewhere new if they can find information about disabled access beforehand; and 86 per cent of people had found disabled access information on a venue’s website misleading in the past.

It also revealed just one per cent of respondents are very confident about visiting new places, while six per cent are not confident at all.

To make your home as accessible as possible, consider fitting inflatable bath lifts in your bathroom to help you get in and out of the tub without extra assistance.

bath with easy access door
Oct 22

Trafford Disability Funding £200k More Than 2009

Matthew

Some places are taking the pleas to provide better support for disabled people seriously, with Trafford Council having increased its funding for those with disabilities by more than £200,000 over the last ten years.

The local authority revealed it has spent £214,965 more on Disability Facilities Grants (DFGs) this financial year than it did in 2009, reported Manchester Evening News.

This money goes towards helping disabled people make adaptations to their homes, such as by installing walk-in power baths, dropped kerbs, wider doorframes, and stair lifts to enable them to have a more independent life.

A spokesperson for the council told the newspaper: “Trafford Council is committed toe equality in all areas and we are proud to have increased our Disabled Facilities grant funding.”

Freedom of Information requests by marketing agency Silverbean revealed the local authority that spent the most on these types of grants since 2009 was Leeds City Council.

This was followed by Manchester City Council, which contributed £4,654,900 over the last ten years.

The north-west spent more on DFGs than any other region during this period, with this amount totalling £25,952,343. This averaged £1,853,738 per year.

Disability rights campaigner Hollie-Anne Brooks told the news provider: “Small changes matter a great deal and something that may seem minor can have such an enriching impact on the life of a disabled person – both from an accessibility point of view but also in terms of their mental health.”

Indeed, a YouGov poll, commissioned by Habinteg, revealed 69 per cent of the public thought wheelchairs would not fit in their current homes, with just 21 per cent saying a wheelchair user would be able to access every room in their house.

Oct 07

New App Launched To Review Bathrooms

Matthew

There are few people who haven’t been out and about somewhere, used a public bathroom and thought that it was a mess. Or maybe it simply wasn’t accessible to you in the first place. While there are undoubtedly businesses doing a great job with their toilets, there are still plenty that are lagging behind.

But a new app from HSG UK is hoping to change that. This reported on the free-to-download app, which is called Cleen.

Any user who downloads the app will be able to leave a review about the toilet facilities in a business. They can post complaints, or they can share compliments. They can also add photographs to support their review.

The aim isn’t to lambast business owners for the state of their toilets, but to bring about positive change.

Simon Rice, HSG UK managing director, commented: “Many washrooms are still not fit for purpose – and therefore badly affect the quality of life – for a large part of our community and particularly for people with disabilities and parents needing baby changing facilities.”

Mr Rice explained that the app is designed to help businesses use high-quality, accessible bathrooms to help market their businesses.

At the same time, he also wants them to use it as a tool to understand when their facilities aren’t up to standard and to take steps to improve matters, whether it’s introducing additional toilet checks throughout the day to ensure they stay clean and stocked with toilet paper, or fitting new bathrooms that are accessible.

He added that, for disabled people, the accessibility and standards of washrooms are an important thing for them to consider when they’re deciding whether to eat at a particular restaurant or visit an attraction.

“Cleen App is therefore a simple and engaging way of giving disabled people a voice to share their experiences – good and bad – to help other people make those decisions,” Mr Rice asserted.

Last month, research conducted by the organisation Leonard Cheshire and online community Disability Horizons stressed that tourist attractions in the UK need to do more to provide accessible facilities.

The survey found that 73 per cent of the disabled people surveyed had visited a tourist attraction and discovered that there was no washroom that could meet their needs.

One of the problems is that many people who don’t have direct experience of needing disabled facilities simply aren’t aware of what constitutes an acceptable and usable bathroom. However, they should seek advice from those with the right knowledge to ensure that they are providing a washroom that can be used by everyone.

Neil Heslop, chief executive at Leonard Cheshire, said that aside from the impact it has on those with disabilities, who are being prevented from living independent lives, there are business implications too. Tourist attractions that fail to adequately cater for people with disabilities could be inadvertently turning away a significant number of customers.

This discussion could open your eyes to what a family member might need at home too. If you know someone who struggles with their mobility, take a look at the likes of easy access showers to ensure they’re able to continue to use their bathroom independently for many years to come.

Oct 02

‘Majority’ Of Homes Are Inaccessible For Wheelchair Users

Matthew

A new report has revealed that the majority of homes in the UK are hard for wheelchair users to access, with just 21 per cent saying that a wheelchair user would reasonably be able to access all parts of the house.

Commissioned by Habinteg, the YouGov poll found that 69 per cent of those asked confirmed that this would not be possible in their current homes. The typical reasons for inaccessibility were found to be steps into the front door, bathrooms upstairs and the width of doors going into and around the house.

“We are calling on the government to urgently change national policy to ensure all new homes are built to accessible and adaptable standards. This was promised by former Prime Minister Theresa May in July as part of a new consultation, and we now need the new PM to honour that pledge,” Habinteg CEO Sheron Carter said.

The study came after it was found that 23 per cent of new properties outside London are planned to be accessible, despite the fact that the UK has rapidly ageing population.

And further research by the University of Stirling, the Horizon Housing Association and Housing Options Scotland also recently revealed that disabled people are finding it hard to access suitable homes to buy, so much so in fact that they’re experiencing mental and emotional distress as a result.

Professor Isobel Anderson, lead author of the study, issued a call for equal housing opportunities and rights to accessible properties that “ensure and protect their human rights”.

If you’re looking to make your home more accessible, contact us today to find out more about our easy access showers & other products!