Trailblazers have found that although there are many excellent examples of ever-improving practice in entertainment, sport, retail and catering, many providers of leisure activities are failing to deliver a good or even ‘reasonable’ service for their disabled customers.

The Trailblazers’ investigation, Calling Time, highlighted a number of issues in the report. Access to buildings was sometimes impossible, especially in cases where a building has one sole entrance and step-only access. Expecting a disabled person to use a side entrance or service lift is not providing an equal service or experience.

The Trailblazers reported poor standards of disability awareness among staff and highlighted the difficulties someone with mobility difficulties can face in venues with small sets of steps between areas within a bar or restaurant. It was however noted that physical accessibility was especially good in buildings built since the introduction of part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, when reasonable adjustments to physical features became law.

Our report revealed:

  • Four out of five young disabled people do not feel confident that they can pursue a leisure activity spontaneously
  • Four out of five thought that the accessibility of leisure facilities in their area was average, poor or very poor
  • Almost 70 percent thought that pubs and restaurants were particularly inaccessible for disabled people

There is so much out there for able-bodied people to indulge in, with regards to sport, dance and leisure facilities, yet nothing of the same nature for us. It appears, in my experience that people seem to think that just because we can’t get up, run around and chase a ball, we don’t want to. Of course we do! We are not useless: we can join in and most importantly, we want to. So why not plan new developments, leisure centres, clubs and activities with us in mind as well?

Carrie Aimes

Trailblazers are calling for:

  • the government, sports associations and clubs to ensure that they have sufficient accessible facilities and adapted equipment, including disabled parking, wide entrances, accessible changing rooms and showers, a poolside hoist, and a hoist in at least one changing room.
  • the government, sports associations, and clubs to employ more disabled fitness instructors to train both disabled and non-disabled groups.
  • the government, sports associations, and clubs to introduce more mixed ability sports and fitness classes to create a more positive and inclusive environment.

You can read the most recent report here. Trailblazers continues to campaign on improving access to leisure facilities. If you are affected by these issues and would like to share your experiences or be a media ambassador, contact us here.

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