Today is the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We asked members of our Insight Group to share what "The Future is Accessible" means to them. Chloe Holgate shared this story.
Last week I went to the cinema to watch a film. Although I now know there are a number of signs saying the parking limit was 3 hours, it was something we just didn’t see.
As the film was almost 3 hours when you included trailers and adverts, plus time to buy tickets we overstayed by 26 minutes.
We know this because we received a parking ticket.
I was really confused, because as I said we hadn’t seen the signs, but as a wheelchair user the carpark is the only safe place in which I can park in order to safely gain access to the cinema.
I felt that it was unfair that this time limit meant I am unable to watch a large number of films because I can no longer park in the car park. There is no pay and display road parking that is close enough, and other car parks are too far away for me to then be able to safely get to the cinema.
I appealed the ticket and wrote to the place where the cinema was. My appeal was rejected but the reply I got from the place in all honesty upset me.
I got upset because at no point in this reply are my actual issues addressed. I’ve explained to them I feel discriminated against because the implications of their time policy means I as someone with a disability feels I am unable to now attend a film at their cinema. I either have to restrict what I want to watch to fit into these times. I go see a film and I’m charged £60 to £100 for overstaying, or I just don’t go.
As someone with a disability that faces access issues on a daily basis I felt dismissed and overlooked. Something you are made to feel every time a place tells you it’s accessible, but every time you try to access a disabled bathroom it is blocked by high chairs, or used as a storage cupboard. Every time someone parks in the disabled space because they need to just quickly use the cash point.
I’m a person with a disability, not an afterthought.
This issue is something that shouldn’t even be a problem, there should be a concession for those with disabilities, or at the very least acknowledgment. I replied expressing my hurt in being dismissed, I have yet to receive a reply.
Tuesday the 3rd of December is international day of people with disabilities, I was asked to write what ‘The future is accessible’ means to me.
It means that situations like this aren’t even a thing.
It means I can make plans with my friends and not worry.
It means I can make a doctors or hospital appointment and know I can go without having to call ahead and make sure I’ll be able to be seen.
It’s just all those “little things” that make the biggest differences.