Days Out In Accessible Britain
If you’re a regular wheelchair user, you’ll know that though there have been many improvements, many places that think they’re accessible just aren’t! Knowing where to find an accessible loo can make a big difference to a day out. If you don’t use a wheelchair at home (and maybe don’t have your own) and you get tired when you’re out and about, speak to your physio or OT about if and when it might be helpful to start using one sometimes – perhaps for days out at big venues – and how to go about getting one.
For many people, a successful day out will involve some extra planning. Many places now have a section about accessibility on their own websites but if you can’t see it, it can be worth a phone call. Top of a lot of people’s priorities is being able to get to an accessible toilet.
- The RADAR National Key Scheme (NKS) gives independent access to locked accessible toilets around the UK. These are in shopping centres, pubs, cafés, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations in most parts of the country. To order your key and information about where they are, go to: www.disabilityrightsuk.org/shop/official-and-only-genuine-radar-key
- Changing Places located around the UK, have more space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist. Some are accessible via a Radar Key, others have open access or other local arrangements.
If you’re planning to travel, the Changing Places map will quickly show you all the Changing Places toilet locations along your route: www.uktoiletmap.org
For more information see: www.changing-places.org
For actual days out, these website are full of ideas, tips and advice:
Accessible Boating charity offers day trips on an accessible boat: www.accessibleboating.org.uk
Britain is Great offers a series, where a team travel the length and breadth of the UK to discover just how accessible Britain is. One presenter is Martyn Sibley, facilitator of SMA UK’s Adult Insight Group: www.britainisgreat.com/accessible-tourism
CanalAbility charity offers accessible canal boat day trips: www.canalability.org.uk
Cinema Trips can be much cheaper with a CEA Card (Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card). This works nationally entitling you to one free ticket for a person accompanying you. To apply, your need to be receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) The card currently costs £6.00 a year: www.ceacard.co.uk
Disabled Go - has access information for over 120,000 places of interest in the UK: www.disabledgo.com
Euan's Guide - has disabled access reviews from disabled people and their friends and families. Covers tourism and entertainment venues as well as post offices, supermarkets and railway stations: www.euansguide.com
The Nationwide Access Register - covers access to buildings and services in the UK: www.directenquiries.com
The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain includes accessibility information, including disabled parking and reviews, hints and tips written by disabled visitors. It can be searched online and downloaded for free: www.accessibleguide.co.uk