Disabled-access ticket sales rise at gigs and festivals

Written by Jenny Stevens for The Guardian

Disabled-access ticket sales at gigs and festivals have increased by 70% in the last year, according to research from a charity that works to improve access to live music in the UK.

Attitude Is Everything said that across 106 venues and festivals signed up to its charter of best practice, 114,000 disabled-access tickets were sold in 2014, compared with 67,000 in 2013.

The figures cover festivals including Glastonbury, Download and Reading and Leeds plus venues such as the O2 and the Roundhouse in London and Manchester Academy.

Our cities must undergo a revolution for older people

Written by Anne Karpf for The Guardian

Stand at the traffic lights on a major street in any city. Now, when the green man invites you, try to cross the road. Unless you have the acceleration of an Olympic sprinter, the chances are that the beeps will stop, the green man will flash and cars will rev impatiently before you’ve reached the sanctuary of the other side. Especially if you have a disability, are pushing a buggy or laden with shopping. Or are old. The Department of Health says the average walking speed demanded by pedestrian crossings is 1.2 metres a second, while the average speed of the older pedestrian is just 0.7 to 0.9 metres per second.

Continue reading Our cities must undergo a revolution for older people

Disabled people shut out of politics by lack of access at polling stations

Written by Frances Ryan for The Guardian

Clamouring for the right to vote seems slightly out of sync with modern politics, like watching a suffragette discover voter apathy, or Nigel Farage. Still, things tend to feel more important if you’re stopped from doing them. It’s 2015 and disabled people in this country haven’t yet got the franchise. Well, we have in theory, but having the legal right to cast your ballot isn’t much comfort when dire access means you can’t physically do it.

Adam Lotun, who uses a wheelchair, found himself stuck outside his polling station, a community centre in Tolworth, Surrey, when he went to vote in the 2014 local and European elections. Despite access signs pointing to a ramp, there were no safety barriers and there was a drop to the floor of the building.

“Even if I’d managed that, I was then faced with narrow internal doors, which I wouldn’t have been able to get my wheelchair through,” Lotun, 53, tells me. Unable to get inside, he couldn’t vote.

Continue reading Disabled people shut out of politics by lack of access at polling stations

Things You Only Know If You Go Clubbing In A Wheelchair

Read this interesting account of clubbing in London from the point of view of a wheelchair user… Written by Amy Oulton and first posted on The Debrief

It’s impossible to blend in on a dance floor when wheels are your primary method of transportation. Combined with a risk of tipping over backwards that directly correlates with how many drinks you’ve had, ignorant people and the general lack of accessibility, clubbing in a wheelchair is usually an eventful experience.

Continue reading Things You Only Know If You Go Clubbing In A Wheelchair

Proposed new rights for people with learning disabilities – a quick guide…

Care minister Norman Lamb (see above photo) on Friday unveiled a green paper of proposals to give people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions more rights around the care they receive.

No voice unheard, no right ignored is a consultation to gain the views of disabled people, their families, those working in the sector and other interested parties on the proposals. It opens on 6 March, and closes in 12 weeks’ time, on 29 May. Here are six things you need to know about the proposals.

Continue reading Proposed new rights for people with learning disabilities – a quick guide…

Families face special educational needs help ‘postcode lottery’ – BBC News

Families of children with special educational needs are facing a postcode lottery to get extra help at schools, BBC 5 live Investigates suggests.

Figures from 125 councils in England and Wales obtained by a Freedom of Information request found a huge range in responses to assessment requests.

On average half of all requests by parents to get help are turned down.

The Local Government Association says standards are clearly set to try to meet the needs of each child.

Around one in five children in England and Wales has special educational needs (SEN) and is eligible for extra help at school.

The first step to getting help, over and above what can normally be provided in mainstream schools, is to request an assessment from the local education authority.

Continue reading Families face special educational needs help ‘postcode lottery’ – BBC News

Punk band with Learning Disabilities to represent Finland at Eurovision

PKN, a band whose members have autism and Down’s Syndrome, have been picked by the Finnish public to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. It is a move that could change how people with learning difficulties are seen forever.

The four-piece will be performing at the final in Vienna in May and are third-favourite to win the competition. They will be the first punk band to ever perform at the competition.

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Revealed: The London attractions with best access for disabled people

The Minister for Disabled People has warned London visitor attractions they are “missing a trick” if they fail to cash in on the “Purple Pound” spent by disabled people.

Britons with disabilities and their families have £200 billion worth of spending power that London’s galleries, theatres and parks should be bidding for, said Mark Harper, the Minister for Disabled People.

For the first time, Visit England have drawn up a list of London’s best tourist attractions for accessibility, headed by the National Theatre, St Martin-in-theFields church, and the Science Museum.

Continue reading Revealed: The London attractions with best access for disabled people

Companies vow to act on BBC disabled access exposé

Some of the UK’s biggest firms have begun urgent improvement schemes after a BBC London investigation exposed failures to serve disabled people.

A blind person and a wheelchair user wore secret cameras to document cafes without ramps, missing station staff and minicabs that refused guide dogs.

Continue reading Companies vow to act on BBC disabled access exposé

Disabled man races Tube train in his wheelchair – and almost wins…

A wheelchair user has raced a Tube train in a parody video to highlight problems disabled people face on the London underground.

Several runners have released clips of themselves ‘racing’ a train from Mansion House to Cannon Street on foot. Now, wheelchair-bound Anthony Ince, 43, has attempted the same 380m sprint.

He manages to come close to completing the route in just 80 seconds… Continue reading Disabled man races Tube train in his wheelchair – and almost wins…