PosAbility columnist Sam Renke launched a campagin last year to encourage disabled people to share their bad access experiences with the hashtag #DontWantOurCash to raise awareness of the inaccessibility of shops, restaurants, bars and other public spaces. Sam detailed how to get involved in her latest column for PosAbility…
Fed up with accessible loos being used as storage cupboards, lifts out of order or tills too high? Would you like to go shopping or simply about your daily activities without having to bring someone with you just in case places aren’t accessible?
Well, my frustration with how inaccessible the world we live in came to a head early last month when I entered a shop that had recently been refurbished. Despite its glittery new interior the lift was out of service and the tills still far too high for me to reach the cash machine. There was a long queue behind me and although the shop assistant could see me struggling, no help was offered. I could feel my cheeks getting red and tears well up in my eyes. I just wanted to do some shopping and what was supposed to be a lovely day out turned into a humiliating and frustrating experience.
Since this incident I have started to take pictures of every store, bar, street or public transport that isn’t accessible as most people who aren’t affected by a disability are oblivious as to how inaccessible the world really is.
It is a misconception that the Equality Act 2010 protects the disabled community when it comes to access. The reality is that the ‘reasonable’ adjustments act is not fit for purpose and is shrouded in ambiguity and most importantly it fails to protect the rights of the disabled community.
I have launched the #DontWantOurCash campaign to highlight this issue and also to show the importance of the Purple Pound.
(The Purple Pound is the collective spending power of disabled people and stands at an estimated £249 billion.)
HOW TO GET INVOLVED?
Every time you go out to a venue that doesn’t meet your access needs I would like you to take a picture or video, when possible add location and upload it to @DontWantOurCash Facebook and Twitter pages and don’t forget to use the hashtag #DontWantOurCash.
Anyone, no matter what your impairment can get involved, your voice matters!
I want to gather enough evidence to take to Parliament and change the reasonable adjustments policy so that there is no longer any ambiguity as to what constitutes as ‘reasonable’.
If a venue fails to meet access policies then it’s totally fine to name and shame and show the name of the brand, restaurant, venue on the photo. It is completely within your rights to take pictures or videos in public areas.
Try your best when taking your picture to not get members of the public in the shot. I realise that this is not always feasible so if you can cover them up with a smily face emoji that would be great.
But don’t worry if you can’t, it’s not the end of the world and I wouldn’t want you to not post and support the campaign because of this.
We all have the right to live independently, safely without restrictions – just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you don’t deserve these things.
Sam is an actress, disability rights campaigner, writer and columnist for PosAbility. You can read Sam’s colourful take on life and her experiences every issue.