Setting out to deliver the Great Barr Accessibility report to local retailers, I was both excited and apprehensive. I’d spend months compiling and producing the report and now the time had come to share my findings with the local community. I’d tried really hard to make sure the report came across positively and I was anxious to ensure that retailers recognised that it wasn’t meant as an attack against individual shops.
I asked my friend to help me personally deliver the reports, as the whole point was that I couldn’t access all of the shops. The response we received was extremely mixed. Some retailers welcomed the report and promised to read it. Others weren’t very interested at all, saying they’d read it “if they got time.” One retailer, who shall remain unnamed, didn’t seem to want the report and as we were leaving, threw it across the floor! Needless to say that this particular shop is extremely inaccessible and may benefit from reading the report’s recommendations!!
Some of the shops explained to us that whilst they appeared to be inaccessible, they did in fact have a portable ramp which enabled access for wheelchair users. Whilst this is brilliant news, they just need to go one step further and advertise the fact that they have such facilities.
Whilst out delivering the reports, the local paper, the Great Barr Observer, got in touch as they wanted to cover the story. I was even more encouraged when the story made the front page that Friday and the paper had got a response from local MP, Tom Watson. He said, “This is an insightful piece of research showing that there is clearly a problem in regards to access in parts of the area. I will be contacting all the agencies I can in regard to this to try and find a solution to this problem.”
I really hope that Mr Watson keeps his word and that the retailers consider the points raised within the Accessibility Report. I would be happy to offer each retailer a free accessibility consultation to provide them with tailored accessibility advice – please Contact Flyinglady for further information.