These toilet dispensers are almost useless
This type of toilet dispenser is a nightmare for both able bodied and disabled users. Unfortunately they are appearing with many more variations including those from Kimberley Clark. With this example all is well until you lose the end of the paper. Then you have to find the end. Round and round you go until, if you are lucky, the end pops out. If It is a Kimberley Clark type then the issue is joining one end of the stack to another. By this I mean when a housekeeper adds another stack of toilet paper it is a nightmare when the first stack of toilet paper runs out in the dispenser. You end up scrabbling about trying to get the paper out. Now imagine doing this if you have an impairment. Why can’t we go back to the good old fashioned toilet roll? It is simple to use and it works for everyone.
A simple way to make a huge difference
Did you know there are 75 individual members of Hospitality Action? All of these have received a letter recently to raise their membership level and up to now six have taken this opportunity. This has increased revenue to Hospitality Action by £450 per year. Now imagine if every one of you did the same thing. That would increase revenue to the Industry charity, per annum, by £5,625. Now that is one very good reason for everyone to upgrade their HA membership level now, it would make a real difference every year to people in difficulty from this industry.
Stop adding impediments to accessible toilets
There is a very good reason for having an accessible toilet. That is to give people in a wheelchair more space so that they can access the toilet and rotate their wheelchair as required . So why do hospitality businesses keep adding impediments that soon make accessibility impossible. This picture shows a minor example as it only has a mirror. I have recently seen dance floors, stacks of chairs, old furniture and high chairs dumped in supposedly accessible areas. This is another symptom of the appalling attitude this industry has to people with disabilities. When will it change?
Don't tell me pubs need more business
A few weeks ago my father-in-law died after many years of illness and being in a home. It was still a very sad occasion but we needed to organise the wake. So my wife, sister-in-law and nephew set out to find a suitable location in Scunthorpe. Four locations later we found somewhere. I have never experienced so many businesses making excuses for not wanting the business. The reasons ranged from we are too busy then or we can’t get a wheelchair in there. The excuse really being we can’t be bothered. This was very apparent in the attitude of staff.
Congratulations must go to The Bird in the Barley in Messingham just outside Scunthorpe who made us welcome, had suitable facilities for a wheelchair, provided a lovely buffet and excellent service. And of course made a profit!
Love never dies! But would that apply to a Paralympian in 2012
I had booked tickets for my wife’s birthday to see the above and went online to book a restaurant for a pre-theatre dinner. I found Zizzi’s on The Strand and phoned them up. They told me they had an accessible entrance but it was at the back about a 6 -7 minutes walk away. They explained someone would help me. I booked a table and was then asked if it was a special occasion. As it was my wife’s birthday I booked champagne on arrival and birthday cake. I was looking forward to a lovely night out. I was told to arrive at the front door and that someone would take me round to the back.
A few minutes after arriving at the restaurant a person came out and I followed them. It transpired that this person was on his second day and had no idea where he was going. We went back and forth in the road, on the pavement, up and down hill and I followed in my wheelchair. Eventually he left me and went back to Zizzis to get fresh directions. He came back again and looked around. He eventually tried to gain access via a security gate. It was the right way but he could not gain entrance, nobody knew about any arrangement with Zizzis. In the meantime my wife waited in the restaurant - alone.
Eventually we gained access though the gate and went up a steep slope. I need assistance and then had to manoeuvre around scaffolding and other building materials. I got to our table about 40 minutes after I left my wife at the front door. She had been very worried.
I was then asked what I would like to drink. I said that had all been organised. They had no record of anything I had booked. A disastrous meal followed that we did not pay for. Probably the least the restaurant could do in the situation.
Now imagine it was 2 years time and this time I am a Paralympic athlete that is coming into London to celebrate winning my medal. What sort of impression will that give about London? Will the person remember the medal or the celebration that went so wrong?
These are not difficult questions to answer and when you speak to taxi drivers and people with disabilities this is going to happen time and time again.
Beijing 2008 transformed the attitude of a country to disability issues. London 2012 is not going to have the same success if we carry on the current path. The industry is paying lip service to accessibility and disregarding the law. We don’t have much time left for 2012 and sometime soon it will cost an industry business a lot of money. Quite honestly they will deserve what they get.