Disabled Access Day 2019

Disabled Access Day on March 16th is a day celebrated by places and spaces all over the UK and beyond. The day started in 2015 as a day to celebrate accessibility and to create opportunities for people to try new things in a fun and welcoming environment.

Paul looking out at the sunset

What's the story behind Disabled Access Day?

I founded Disabled Access Day as a day to create opportunities for people to attend a series of organized events where they will receive a warm welcome, a chance to try something new, and the memory of having done something different.

The inspiration for the day came from my experience of an accessible Open Day at my local bus depot five years ago. As a power wheelchair user, I knew buses in Edinburgh were wheelchair accessible, but I had never tried boarding a bus with my power chair. After the open day provided me with the perfect opportunity to try something new in a stress-free, welcoming environment, I now frequently use buses.

Paul taking photos of flowers

This fantastic experience became an idea that there should be more opportunities like this out there for people with disabilities who see things they would like to try but aren't quite sure how they'd get on. A series of focused 'try something new' events and opportunities that otherwise wouldn't be so easy to arrange.

Disabled Access Day aims to leave a positive legacy. By encouraging visitors to share their stories on social media and on Euan's Guide, the disabled access review website, the positive experiences on the day can give other people confidence and inspire others to go out and try something new.

Over the last five years, Disabled Access Day has grown from one person and an idea to a nationwide celebration of accessibility and opportunities to try something new. The last event in 2017 was our biggest yet, with over 11,000 people taking part at hundreds of places all over the United Kingdom and Ireland.

What's different about Disabled Access Day 2019?

We want to make Disabled Access Day 2019 as inclusive as possible. This is why we are making Changing Places Toilets part of the requirements for venues taking part in Disabled Access Day 2019.

For over 250,000 people in the UK, standard accessible toilets do not have the equipment they need to use the toilet in dignity, safety, and comfort. People with profound & multiple learning disabilities and physical disabilities such as muscular dystrophy, spinal injuries, and multiple sclerosis are forced to ensure dangerous, unhygenic, and undignified conditions in toilets that don't have adequate changing spaces, washing facilities, space for up to two carers, and a privacy screen.

We have made having or being close to a Changing Places Toilet a requirement for participating venues so that people who need these facilities can join in the celebrations on Disabled Access Day.

People enjoying Disabled Access Day

How can I get involved?

They key message of Disabled Access Day is "Try somewhere new and write a review." If you're in the UK, take a look at our event list to see an event you can join in. If there's no event near you or if you live overseas, we encourage you to go and try something new in your area and then share your visit with people by sharing in on social media or writing a review on Euan's Guide.

About the Author

Paul Ralph

Paul is an explorer, techie, and pottery collector always on the lookout for new gadgets to play with. An avid storyteller, he loves finding new places to go and telling people about his adventures.

Paul's experiences of wanting to try something new but in a safe, welcoming, and fun way were the catalyst for Disabled Access Day. The local bus company had a 'try a bus' day, he tried the bus, and afterwards became a regular bus user. He then chatted with friends about creating similar opportunities in varying settings... and hence the idea of Disabled Access Day was born!

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Date: 3/5/2019 12:00:00 AM

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