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High street pubs and bars slammed for disability access

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More than 8 in 10 disabled people find it difficult to access a pub or a bar, according to a Leonard Cheshire survey.

The report showed how in total, 86% of disabled people came across difficulty with 45% of those questioned saying they experienced negative attitudes from staff.

It went on to describe of 35% of people felt like they received a negative attitude from other customers because of their disability.

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Taking part in the survey, William Ogden, 27, from Farnborough, described how he now has to avoid his local pub, after his disability led to him being barred.

He said: “I went to purchase a cake, but I did not hear the bar staff telling me to not touch it myself. She called over a bouncer. I explained I was deaf and I could not hear her, but I was barred for a year.”

Beyond staffing issues, for people with a range of disabilities, it was pub layouts, toilets, menus, bar heights and step-free access that also proved to be the problem points.

One respondent said: “High up bars mean I can’t get served because staff can’t see me. Layout of tables is often very difficult to navigate in a wheelchair or lack of lowered seating means I can’t get to a table.”

Leonard Cheshire wrote to three of the leading pub and bars companies, as well as contacting another via their website, to find out about their disabled customer provisions.

Only Wetherspoons responded and encouragingly its spokesman Eddie Gershon, said: “We are proud of the facilities that we offer to our customers with disabilities. Our aim is to make each and every one of them as welcome in our pubs as possible.”

He added: “We are especially proud of the Changing Places facilities in a number of our pubs which are very welcomed by the people and their families who need them. We are looking to add more Changing Places in our pubs in the near future.”

But even if pubs adapt, respondents went on to say that they feel a culture change also depends non-disabled customers.

Leonard Cheshire’s head of policy and campaigns, Husna Mortuza concluded: “Pubs, bars and the public who use them need to do much more to allow disabled people to go out and socialise in the same way as non-disabled people.”

She continued: “Disabled people shouldn’t miss out, during the holiday season or any other time of year. If pubs and bars take note, they also stand a chance to cash in on the £249 billion that the disabled person market, also known as the ‘purple pound’, is worth.”

Tags : leonard cheshirereportrestaurantsurvey
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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