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Disability campaigner calls for better accessibility awareness in hospitality after falling on broken shower seat at London hotel  

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A disability campaigner has called for the roll out of ‘better accessibility awareness’ across hospitality venues after she fell on a broken shower seat at a London hotel.

Jennie Berry was staying at Mama Shelter London when she fell in the bathroom on her room’s accessible shower seat and could not reach the emergency alarm because it was tied up out of reach.

She managed to get to a second alarm and alert staff who arrived after 20 minutes, but they were unaware of how to lift her properly.

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The Mama Shelter London apologised and said it would increase training.

Berry, a community engagement manager for accessibility app Sociability, has called for more disability awareness in the hotel industry.

Speaking to BBC Radio Tees, she said: “The shower chair completely came off the wall, leaving me on the floor – I hit my head as I went down,”

“I’m a wheelchair user and I am paralysed from the waist down meaning I am unable to get myself back on the chair unassisted.

“I looked up and the red cord was tied to the ceiling so there was no way of reaching that one.

“Thankfully, there was a secondary one tied around a grab rail, which I was able to reach and kind of wiggle and keep yanking on until I was able to unhook it.”

She said hotel staff then rang her room but she was unable to answer as she was stuck in the bathroom.

“When they finally came they didn’t really know what to do, they had no manual handling training, there was no equipment to help get me up,” she added.

“It took three staff members 20 minutes to finally get me up, but obviously I was naked, I was soaking wet, and everything was just a bit of a mess.

“Thankfully I am not really hurt, I just have quite a lot of bruising on my arms of where they were dragging me and pulling me.”

A spokesperson for Mama Shelter London, in Shoreditch, said: “We want to apologise unreservedly that this unfortunate incident occurred at our hotel that caused Jennie Berry understandable distress.

“We will be checking all facilities more rigorously in future from a maintenance point of view and increase the frequency of staff training for disability etiquette.

“We pride ourselves in being a wholly-inclusive brand and will redouble our efforts to fulfil this.”

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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