Young campaigners are to investigate whether cinemas, football grounds and museums are breaching the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), in their latest probe into the access barriers facing young disabled people.
Volunteers will conduct undercover investigations into leisure facilities in villages, towns and cities across the UK and will give star ratings to access at local facilities in their area, such as pubs, clubs, theatres and leisure centres.
Up to 150 young people will be involved in the investigation.
The latest study is the third part of the Inclusion Now! campaign run by the Trailblazers network of young volunteers, which is part of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (MDC).
Already this year the Trailblazers have investigated the barriers in securing a university education and using public transport.
Now they hope to highlight barriers, present solutions and highlight good practice in the leisure industry, and name and shame the worst offenders.
And they have not ruled out taking legal action against leisure providers that refuse to improve poor access.
Leisure, transport and higher education were selected for investigation after being highlighted by Trailblazers as areas where they were facing access barriers.
Some wheelchair-users had been branded a “fire risk” at cinemas, and were refused entry to sports and music venues.
Trailblazer David Gale, from Carlisle, said he encounters “vast differences” in access at the football grounds he visits.
He said: “The DDA says that ‘reasonable adjustments’ need to be made to make sure venues and leisure attractions are fully accessible.
“This investigation will ask whether this law is being broken.
“I hope this investigation will expose what some places are doing right and how others can improve to make sure everyone can enjoy them.”
Philip Butcher, MDC’s chief executive, said: “Many people take for granted the ability to watch a film, to visit a museum or to support their local football team.
“This simply is not an option to some disabled people if leisure facilities fail to conform to the DDA.
“The Trailblazers are determined, motivated and passionate about making society more accessible and I’m sure this report will have impact.”
To take part in the investigation, including the chance to fill in an online survey, visit: http://www.mdctrailblazers.org/campaigns/185#
21 October 2009