Wednesday, 14 October 2009

What looking for access information can mean

I think I've mentioned in passing that there have been a lot of access issues and niggles and such like lately. Which takes a lot of energy and can be very upsetting at times. Monday night was one of those days when they all got on top of me.

One thing these issues have made me realise is just how many people aren't really aware of everything involved so I thought I would share one story. It's actually the one that was easiest resolved and had less agonising over than any of the other things I've experienced lately. Also it has the happiest result.

I've been invited out in a few weeks to a place I've never been before. I asked the person organising it about the access who told me it "looked ok to them." which was a bit vague for my liking, particularly as they don't have the best track record for organising things which are accessible.

And I know that several people who are going with us had been before some years ago. So I asked one of them. Who said from memory the inside was fine but that she thought it was gravel up to the door which would be difficult with my chair.

Then I tried to track down an e-mail address but could only find a phone number. I prefer to ask access questions via e-mail because some places are good and will be truthful. But many others don't necessarily give the full picture even when asking pointed questions; instead they give the answer they think you want to hear. E-mails provide proof which can be used when you go somewhere, find it's not as expected, and then complain about the fact they are lying scum. So I reluctantly abandoned the search for an e-mail. The person I spoke to said all was fine. But had a very strong accent and the combination of my having difficulty understanding them and getting the opinion they weren't clear what I was asking (as I had to repeat several times) I was left feeling it would be OK but not 100% convinced I'd been told correctly.

I mentioned it to the person who'd told me about the gravel. and I was happy to leave it and to go to the meal but a bit frustrated by the difficulties so not looking forward to it as much as I would otherwise

Today she brought in her (very swish) digital camera. On the screen of which she had pictures of the entry to the venue she'd taken the other day (having gone that way especially). How nice was that?! I don't think anyone has especially brought me photos of access before.

It's been changed since she last went a few years ago. And my chair should be fine with it.

I'm really pleased that it's all fine for me to go. I feel the photo standard may have to be the new gold standard of access information I get from places and people.

And I'm totally envious of her camera.


Georgia Mist said...

My DH and I used to be caregivers to my DH's best friend (and my childhood friend), Stephen. He was quadreplegic after a diving incident.
Even though his chair was motorized, it was pure hell taking him to some places that he wanted to visit. Gravel, sand, lack of curb-side cut outs, narrow doorways...
Even with the US's Americans with Disabilities Act, it was sometimes impossible to take him certain places. Access is often denied.
Sadly, Stephen died in 2002.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if as a "browser" I'll be able to contact you, but in the event this gets thru:
Have you considered oganizing other wheelies throughout UK organizations to Map & Report locations from YOUR perspective, on-line via website, for instant updates for queries.
It would/could be a wheelchair equivelant of RAC or AA with Wheelchair Approved decal/logo, etc. etc. (cross-stitched badges for participants, eh?)
Jack Owen - wired after tea 'n coffee


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