Posts Tagged ‘Mark Cooper’

A little bit of information can make a big difference

27/04/2011, 02:01:40 PM

by Mark Cooper

The easter break and the royal wedding weekend will be a great opportunity for people to socialise at their local pub up and down the country.

When you plan a social occasion what do you think about? Is it what to wear,  or if you’ll have a drink or two at home before you go out? I think: “can I get to the loo”?

Why? The answer is simple: I am disabled. Going out for me isn’t just a quick email or text “would I like to go for a drink after work”, it’s a military operation.

I have experienced many nights out which have been ruined for me because I have been unable to find an accessible loo. After one night out I had had enough of this problem. I was out in Edinburgh enjoying a post-campaign drink with friends in a pub, which we thought was accessible. But it turned out it did not have a disabled toilet. So I was forced to leave my friends, find another pub with an accessible toilet, then return to my friends.

After this experience, Barred was born, with the simple aim of trying to find out where the pubs are in Edinburgh with disabled access. I started a Facebook group, which soon had hundreds of members all with similar experiences to my own. The local campaign succeeded. Spurred on by the response I decided to try and make it Scotland wide.

The campaign was backed by disability organisation capability Scotland and with their support and the support of Lord Foulkes, the former Labour MSP for the Lothians, secured an amendment to the Scottish criminal justice and licensing act last July. The amendment means licensees must show how their pub can be accessed by disabled customers, when applying for a license. (more…)

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