The past week was pretty hectic. After sending out the press release we (Donna and I) were invited by BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio to go on the Annie Othen show to talk about the Assess for Access project. Annie was wonderful expressing her disbelief that important touristic spots such as Warwick and Stratford can prove to be so problematic to get to on public transport. We told her about the inaccessibility of the train stations and buses. We also mentioned the consumer power of disabled people especially when you consider eating out as a sociable experience – we go with our families, friends and colleagues and if a restaurant is not accessible, it means the whole group won’t. Annie is having personal experience of inaccessible shops and buildings from having to help her mum in a wheelchair recently. She wanted to know if we would be naming and shaming – no because we mean to encourage and help restauranteurs realise the positive aspects of including disabled people and their entourage – for their custom.
Maria and I spent some time going around Coventry and Earlsdon visiting restaurants. To our surprise some of the restaurants did not seem to understand our purpose and was a bit suspicious while others were extremely open and friendly and helpful. Our approach for this project is more holistic and we were not there with clipboards and measuring tapes.
We have yet to do the rest of Warwickshire and here we will have Sarah Rennie’s help as well. Frieda and I, who did the initial research, were disappointed that there are so few accessible restaurants to choose from but it will so rewarding when we do locate those restaurants who are making the effort.
Next Friday, we will set out training for disabled people who will help us with mystery shopping of the attitudes of the chosen restaurants. Really looking forward to this!