Wednesday, 14 August 2013


In last night’s post, I briefly mentioned small improvements that could be made in life to make the world accessible for all. I was going to discuss annoying steps but I got side tracked and went off on a tangent about how long it can take to get any real changes in society. Basically, this equality that I seek for disabled people definitely won’t happen in my lifetime but by writing about the minor difficulties that need to be dealt with, I might lay the foundations for the public mind-set towards disability to one day get better (apologies if I sound a bit too Martin Luther King esque).

So, onto the small matter of steps. Insignificant to able bodied people. Just don’t notice them when you’re walking and probably don’t even know if a bar has a step or not.  However, whether a shop has a step at the front is crucial in the life of ‘Wheelchair Boy’. Living in the historic City of St. Albans, there are a number of old buildings that are inaccessible. Fair enough if it’s not a new build but I’m not letting business owners off that easy. Some shopkeepers care about each and every customer so have portable ramps in case but most don’t bother.

I’ll give the example of a school trip to Germany back in 2007. We were staying at a hotel and because of the stairs at the front; my brother and I were took round to the side entrance. My heart sunk when I saw quite a large step (I could be lifted but that weren’t ideal). The husband and wife reassured us that the problem would be resolved quickly. Within two minutes, the man went away and returned with a piece of wood, which worked perfectly as a ramp. Ingenious but that wouldn’t happen in Britain.

There are probably British shops that do have portable ramps but the only place I’ve encountered one is at an Italian restaurant in North London. It was a purpose built metal one and probably cost a bit but the German demonstrated that a bit of homemade craft will do. As long as it makes a place accessible, it’s fine with me. I don’t care what it’s made of. My overall point is that people tend to not think or realise that a simple bit of planning ahead would not go unnoticed. If a shop had a portable ramp, I’d be able to part with my money inside so having access would only benefit the business.

If you own a building with step access, get that wood out.

Bye for now!

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