Connect Culture, a disabled user led community group based in Coventry, will announce the ten best accessible restaurants in Coventry and Warwickshire this summer before the Olympics. Working on accessibility and inclusiveness specifically, Connect Culture recently received funding from Big Lottery for their project Assess 4 Access. The project will research and publish a Top Ten guide to accessible restaurants with a launch to award the chosen restaurants.
Disabled professional auditors and a group of pan- impairment volunteers will carry out the actual assessment. They will assess not only the physical environment but also the attitudes of waiters and management.
‘Sometimes you find the accessible toilet hidden behind a heap of chairs or it’s been used as a store room for cleaning materials’, explains Eleanor Lisney, founder of Connect Culture. She is a wheelchair user and understands the barriers disabled people encounter. ‘Even when a venue is reported to be accessible, this can be a hopeful interpretation of accessibility rather than the reality.’
Disabled people are also paying consumers – they look forward just like everybody else for a good night out. And going out is a social activity which involves friends and family, disabled and non disabled, this guide aims to encourage restaurants to realize the potential of disabled customers, their friends and families and their collective spending power thus helping to build a cohesive inclusive community.
The top ten that emerge from the research will be awarded in a launch of a printed guide and a website towards the end of June, in time for visitors who come to Coventry to enjoy the Olympic Games. Included in the list will be restaurants in Coventry, Nuneaton, Rugby, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.