A Government advisor on disabled access has questioned how seriously restaurants in Cardiff take their duty to provide ease of access for those using wheelchairs.
Damian Chick, who consults for the Welsh Government and the NHS in England and Wales was recently unable to enter a Cardiff restaurant due to their failure to provide a ramp for his wheelchair.
“Cardiff City Council is striving for the city to be the most accessible in Wales, but this key message does not seem to be filtering to many business owners of Cardiff.” said Damian Chick, 32.
“I had first hand experience of the lack of care and compassion at a well-known restaurant in Cardiff. I have eaten there on a number of separate occasions because their food is outstanding and they have a ramp for anyone who requires it for access. However, on this occasion when I asked if the manager could bring out the ramp that I have used on previous occasions, he stated that the ramp was no longer in the restaurant. When I asked him for a solution he said that he could fetch me a table outside, but as the restaurant is in a terraced setting and is not set up for outside dining I declined this offer and decided to leave.”
Disability access is an issue that affects one fifth of the Welsh population who use wheelchairs and other transport aids. For those that rely on disability access, the simple question of where to eat becomes a complex challenge of determining if they’ll even be able to enter the restaurant.
Mr Chick has previously worked advising organisations on disabled access including BBC Wales, NHS Wales, Scope UK and The Health and Social Care Partnership Board for South Wales.
“It’s been illustrated by organisations such as the business disability forum that the disabled population of the UK have a combined spending power of £88 billion,” continued Mr Chick. “Studies also show that if a disabled person in a group of people has a bad experience or service that able bodied people are less likely to use the that particular restaurant. You would think that in 2015 this issue would not still be so prominent in our society, but unfortunately this is still a matter that needs a huge amount of improvement.”
Damian Chick Associates is an accessibility advisory firm that helps companies educate their staff and change their building environment to tap into this £88 billion that the disabled community can spend.