Covert survey on disabled access

  • November 9, 2009
  • Bruce Bromley

Disabled people aged between 16 and 30 are carrying out an undercover survey of cinemas, pubs and stadiums to test accessibility for wheelchair users.

Aminder Virdee tested the Southwark Rooms pub in Southwark among others
Aminder Virdee tested the Southwark Rooms pub in Southwark among others

The activists from the charity Muscular Dystrophy Campaign said they would give star ratings to facilities and name and shame those which do not measure up.

The UK-wide survey, starting in London, is in response to problems faced by disabled people at leisure facilities.

The charity said the study would inform disabled people about the best venues.

‘Most effort’

One of the undercover assessors – called Trailblazers – Aminder Virdee, 20, of Hayes, west London, said: “I love going out to gigs and art galleries with my friends, but I’ve encountered vast differences in the level of accessibility and provisions for disabled people.

“We will be rating leisure facilities in the hope that other young disabled people will know which facilities in their areas have made the most effort to include them.”

Chief executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Philip Butcher said: “Many people take for granted the ability to watch a film, to visit a museum or to support their local football team.

“This simply is not an option to some disabled people if leisure facilities fail to conform to the Disability Discrimination Act.”

The results of the survey, along with its recommendations, will be published on 3 December which is the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.