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Disabled access protest at cinema

  • September 6, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

BBC News
Thursday, 14 August 2008 18:35 UK

Protesters gathered outside a cinema after a disabled teenage girl had to crawl up stairs because she could not take her wheelchair in.

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An Odeon spokeswoman said they were looking
at alternative sites

Amy Clements, 15, who has spina bifida, organised the protest outside Hereford’s Odeon after her experience.

The protesters were calling for wheelchair access to be improved at the Commercial Road cinema.

However, Odeon said it was not possible to adapt the present building but they were looking for another site.

Amy said she was left feeling “embarrassed” when she was left crawling up the stairs when she went to see the St Trinian’s film with three friends.

She said: “My friends went down to see where I could go and they opened a side door, but only found a big hall with stairs.

“My friend offered to carry me up there so I could get up there, but I was scared she was going to drop me, so I crawled up there.

“It was very hard because it was a hard floor. It was embarrassing for me.”

More than 20 people took part in the protest on Thursday morning.

‘Segregate people’

Jim Lawes, president of Hereford’s Access for All scheme, said they had been campaigning “for years” to get the cinema to improve disabled access.

He said: “Just because a kid is in a wheelchair shouldn’t mean they can’t enjoy the same things as others.

“They should not segregate people in this way.”

A spokeswoman for the Odeon cinema said they had been looking into the issue.

In a statement, she said: “The existing arrangements at the Odeon Hereford have been thoroughly reviewed to examine the various options available to provide wheelchair access to the cinema auditorium.

“Unfortunately, after the review Odeon regrets that it is not feasible at present to include the facilities to provide access for people in wheelchairs at this particular cinema.

“As a result of this, Odeon is looking at an alternative site in Hereford and is currently in active dialogue with developers and further information and timings will be issued in due course.”