Euan's Guide access survey supported by Motability Operations

New research by Euan’s Guide, a UK disabled access charity, has revealed that 59 per cent of disabled people believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has made disabled access worse.

The latest results of the charity’s annual access survey, which has been supported by Motability Operations, include the opinions of over 2,400 disabled people and their friends, families and carers, and reveal disabled peoples’ biggest COVID concerns.

Of those surveyed, 97 per cent were primarily disabled people, with the remainder a combination of carers, friends and healthcare professionals.

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Approximately 75 per cent of those surveyed are concerned about places and spaces where people are not respecting social distancing, while 68 per cent are concerned about people not wearing masks and toilets being shut.

The solutions respondents suggested to make it safer and easier to visit places were described as “unsurprising” by Euan’s Guide, with 67 per cent stating that they would benefit from accessible routes that disabled people can navigate independently.

It also found that 61 per cent would prefer clear markings to encourage people to keep their distance could help, and 53 per cent would like to keep the requirement for staff and visitors to wear masks.

Euan MacDonald, Co-Founder of Euan’s Guide said: “We started the Access Survey to find out what disabled people thought about disabled access in the UK and with the support of Motability Operations this has enabled us to amplify the voice of disabled people.

“The pandemic has had a massive impact on everyone but especially disabled people. The majority of respondents thought disabled access got worse due to COVID, we have heard and continue to hear concerns from our community about social distancing, mask wearing and access to accessible toilets.

“However, there have also been things that have changed for the better, such as remote working and studying becoming an accepted norm and online screenings meaning that events and performances can be more accessible to many disabled people.”

Additionally, 55 per cent of disabled people surveyed were more likely to visit outdoor areas, with 61 per cent less likely to visit predominantly indoor or covered events, while 49 per cent were also not inclined to visit indoor attractions.

2021 was the seventh Access Survey from Euan’s Guide, and the first time that the survey was supported by Motability Operations, the company behind the Motability Scheme. The organisations united to ask everyone who has ever had to consider disabled access to share their opinion on accessibility.

Lisa Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer at Motability Operations, said: “At Motability Operations we’re passionate about providing worry-free mobility, for disabled people, through the Motability Scheme.

“We were delighted to support the Euan’s Guide Access Survey this year and while there are positives in the results, some findings are a bit disappointing.

“We know from our customers that the benefits of being able to get out and about and enjoy freedom, cannot be understated and particularly after the last two years of COVID lockdowns.

“We hope that the results of this survey help to highlight where improvements need to be made and drive real change.”

In January, the UK Government joined with a disability charity to develop a new Disabled Persons Passenger Charter as part of its commitment to making the UK transport network more inclusive and to making travel easier for disabled people.

When an accompanying survey was used to gauge people’s opinions on disabled access generally it found that 92 per cent of respondents tried to find disabled access information before visiting somewhere new, with 56 per cent avoiding visiting a venue if it has not shared their disabled access information.

Approximately 73 per cent of respondents reported that they have found information on a venue’s website to be misleading, confusing or inaccurate and this was echoed by 73 per cent of respondents who had experienced a disappointing trip or had to change plans due to poor accessibility.

Accessible parking and accessible toilets were a priority for disabled visitors with 81 per cent and 80 per cent of respondents respectively reporting that they would help improve confidence when visiting new places, echoing some of the findings from Euan’s Guide’s latest survey.

Euan added: “These results emphasise that we at Euan’s Guide still have a lot of work to do. We can’t do it alone though and we need your help.

“If you are a disabled person, friend or family member, please share your disabled access experiences so more people can find accessible places to go.

“Likewise, if you own, run or work with a venue please ensure that you are promoting your welcome to disabled visitors.”

To view the full report and results, visit: www.euansguide.com/AccessSurvey

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