Access all Areas

imagesY0A7CDTMA recent discussion on Facebook focused on the challenge of getting to the sea edge in Brighton for those with wheelchairs. Although the Pier and some of the concrete platforms are accessible the beach itself is not. Special wheelchairs have been designed for beaches like the one in the photo, with large tyres that can ride comfortably over sand. However Brighton beach is full of pebbles which deter all vehicles except quad bikes, as I discovered in my role of Street Pastor coordinator when we were discussing how to rescue ill people from the beach. The beach also includes very steep slopes towards the sea in certain places. The discussion is one that will continue for some time to come as solutions are not obvious. However the need to provide accessible facilities for outdoor events and settings is not limited to physical access. At the weekend I attended a food and drink fair in the grounds of a local country house. The organisers had taken a great deal of care to ensure that people relying on wheelchairs and with other ambulatory needs were provided for. However I could not see any evidence that the organisers had provided a loop system in the marquee being used to provide musical entertainment. Its not widely understood that loop systems work just as well outdoors as they do inside buildings (indeed in one sense they may work much better). When the Pope visited Birmingham in 2010 the whole area in which people stood and sat was provided with a series of loop systems enabling those attending to turn their hearing aid to the T setting and hear all of the sounds that were relayed through the public address system. Each Summer many brave organisers build stages and provide sound systems for people to sit on our beaches and in parks to listen to live artists. The cost of installing a loop system would be very small when compared to the cost of the scaffolding or sound equipment, yet how many organisers consider including a loop system in their arrangements? I suspect very few. This is much easier to fix than getting wheelchairs down to our sea front, so lets not ignore it.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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