Man pushing woman in wheelchair up ramp to access a venue

Euan’s Guide Access Survey Highlights Inaccurate Info and Cost of Living as Key Issues

The 2023 edition of the Euan’s Guide Access Survey published in February 2024 shows that the accessibility needs of disabled people are still not being taken seriously enough.  The survey found that 76% of respondents experienced misleading, confusing or inaccurate accessibility information on public venue websites. What’s more, 34% of those surveyed also said that in the past year they felt that overall levels of access at venues for disabled people in the UK had declined.

Organisations are undervaluing disabled people and their spending power

Euan MacDonald, founder of Euan’s Guide said “Disabled people need more disabled access information and… businesses don’t appreciate the importance of sharing their disabled access information. Businesses are undervaluing disabled people, in both social inclusion and spending power”

Organisations would be wise to heed this advice. There are 16 million people living with at least some form of disability in the UK, they along with their friends and families, make up a substantial segment of the population. Ignoring this demographic means missing out on connecting with a massive potential customer base going about their everyday activities. Families of disabled people in the UK are estimated to spend upto £274 billion a year. The Purple Pound then has real commercial value, so where are things going wrong?

You only have to run some casual searches on the internet to try and arrange a restaurant booking and a nights stay at hotel to see the issue, many companies do not include any clear accessibility information regarding their facilities. And you virtually never see somebody with an obvious disability in company marketing materials. In these cases the majority of disabled people look elsewhere. 59% of those surveyed said if a venue has not shared its disabled access information they avoid going because they assume it is inaccessible, that is a significant miss.

Inconsistent Accessibility Performance Across Public Venues

Across the mix of venues types it was hospitals and healthcare buildings which were most likely to be rated excellent or good by responders when it comes to accessible provisions. Unfortunately for the many disabled people which would like to watch live sports, sport stadiums were amongst the lowest rated locations, as were outdoor events and festivals. Whilst we do not know the reasons for these scores, in some cases they may be driven by the condition of, or lack of core facilities such as accessible bathrooms and wash rooms.

When asked the question “have you ever come across an accessible toilet that you were unable to use?” 71% of those surveyd answered yes. Which is an uncomfotably high number. The survey dug into slightly more detail asking “what are the most common problems you encounter with accessible toilets?” The most used response being that they have been left too “dirty”, with the next most popular choices all relating to room planning, “not enough space” and “too many things in the way making it difficult to manoeuvre”.

Its not just accessibility at public venues which appears to have become more challanging. The headline issue identified by the 2023 survey was that the cost of living crisis has had a real impact on the respondees. Euan MacDonald stated that “It’s really saddening to see that disabled people are still being disproportionately affected by the cost of living crisis, with some even being forced to sell their homes to be able to survive.”

It was only a few weeks ago that various news outlets reported that the UK government has withdrawn a pledge to increase the Disabled Facilities Grant, which funds home adaptations for disabled people in the UK.

Government backs out of Disabled Facility Grant Funding Pledge

The static cap of £30,000 on the Disabled Facilities Grant has been in place since 2008 and has not kept pace with inflation. In 2021, the government promised to increase the maximum amount that could be claimed, but has now backed out of this commitment. This means the grant now offers significantly less financial support for necessary home adaptations for disabled people. This makes it harder for disabled people and their families to afford essential modifications like stairlifts or accessible bathrooms, restricting independence and safety.

Our Director Darren O’Connell, commented on this, “It is disappointing to hear that the Government’s promise to increase funds to adapt disabled people’s homes has been shelved. At a time where families are dealing with the cost of living crisis every bit of help counts.”

With reference to the findings in the 2023 edition of the Euan’s Guide Access Survey, Darren said “I firmly believe that addressing poor accessibility is a shared responsibility, necessitating collaboration between policymakers, industry stakeholders and communities at large. Euan’ Guide is a valuable source of information, helping disabled people to avoid disappointing trips. By implementing a comprehensive approach including retrofitting initiatives, universal design principles, support services and regulatory measures, we can work towards a future where the disabled people within our communities can enjoy the same freedoms as as everybody else, disabled accessibility is a right not a privilege.

The 2023 edition of Euan’s Guide Access Survey Supported by Motability Operations is the ninth annual Access Survey by the award-winning disabled access charity Euan’s Guide. The partnership with Motability Operations enabled the survey to reach over 6,000 people, 98% of which identified as being disabled. That significant level of engagement marks the Euan’s Guide Access Survey as being the largest of its kind in the UK.

Supporting people to live independently at home

At Absolute Mobility we specialise in the design and installation of accessible bathrooms that help people to live independently at home. Established in 2009, we install walk-in baths, level access showers, wet rooms and power baths in peoples homes.

Our company culture is rooted in empathy, compassion and understanding. We recognise that independence and comfort are not luxuries, but a vital necessity that we believe all our customers are entitled to enjoy in their own homes. This ethos drives our dedicated team, from our customer care advisors to our skilled bathroom installers. We are committed to enhancing your living space with minimal disruption and maximum care.

We have been a member of Trading Standards since August 2020 and a member of Which? Trusted Traders since October 2016. From minor adaptations for items such as bath lifts to larger adaptations for things like a walk-in shower, our hundreds of highly rated reviews prove that we are a safe and reliable choice. We work closely with Occupational Therapists and Case Managers, ensuring the appropriate adaptations assessments are carried out.

Our appointment only showroom in Oxfordshire is the place to view and try out examples of walk-in baths, tub style baths, power baths, shower solutions and wet rooms. Alternatively if you or the person you care for finds travelling a challenge one of our mobile showrooms can bring an example of a walk-in bath to you for demonstration.

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