Leroy Binns, Campaigns Assistant at Mencap

Today (21 December) the Department of Work and Pensions has announced plans to recruit disability champions in to key sectors of businesses, such as retail, hospitality and sport, to improve accessibility for disabled people in the UK.

Accessibility is a huge issue for people with a learning disability who can struggle to understand information when out in public. Despite rulings under the Equality Act 2010 many venues fail to meet the needs of the 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK.

Mencap respond to today’s announcement below.

Leroy Binns has a learning disability and works as a Campaigns Assistant at Mencap, said:

“I think having disability champions in businesses is a very good idea because people with a learning disability still find lots of places and businesses inaccessible because of negative attitudes from staff and the public.

“Sometimes when I’m out in shops or restaurants, staff can’t understand me and don’t make any effort to either, or they ignore me. I also get funny looks from staff and the public, and some people I know have been called names, such as the ‘R’ word as well. I think staff should have training on how to communicate with people with a learning disability and how they can help so that people feel like they are welcome.

“Large businesses and shops should also install Changing Places toilets so that people with profound and multiple disabilities and people less able to walk can use a toilet safely when they’re out and away from home.

“There is a lot of room for improvement in making things more accessible for people with a learning disability, and I think having champions will help businesses understand how to make people with a learning disability feel more included and welcome.”