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92% of disabled people not confident visiting new places

Friday 2nd March 2018
Concerns over accessibility are putting the majority of disabled people in the UK off visiting places they have never been to before, new research shows. Image: bgton via iStock
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Occupational therapists could help disabled people in the UK become more confident at visiting public places they have never been to before due to accessibility concerns.

According to a new report from accessibility review site Euan's Guide, 92 per cent of people living with disabilities in Britain do not feel confident going to new places because they are worried about how much of the location they will be able to access.

Meanwhile, 83 per cent of those questioned said they had experienced difficulties getting around locations such as shopping centres, hotels, cafes and museums in the past, which had made them wary of visiting new places in the future.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents reported narrow corridors to be a problem, while 61 per cent had encountered a lack of wheelchair ramps or doors that were too heavy for them to operate without assistance.

What's more, over half (53 per cent) said they had been to venues with no or poor accessible toilet provision, preventing them from being able to return or making them reluctant to venture to new places in the future.

Overall, 72 per cent of those polled said they would be much more likely to visit a venue if they knew staff cared about its accessibility, with 70 per cent saying they would check out places online beforehand to read comments from previous visitors to find out more about disabled access there.

A total of 67 per cent of respondents revealed they would be more confident going somewhere new after receiving reassurance on its accessibility from another disabled person.

Euan MacDonald, co-founder of Euan's Guide, commented: "The opinions expressed in this survey will help to raise awareness and improve understanding of accessibility, and I am hopeful that future surveys will show positive trends and improvements among venues and the confidence that disabled people have in visiting them."

This is therefore something that occupational therapists can play an essential role in helping to ensure. They can collaborate with venues to make sure they are as accessible as possible, suggesting where improvements can be made, and they can work alongside people with disabilities to build their confidence in visiting new places by themselves.

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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