Four out of five disabled people face difficulties trying to access pubs and bars, resulting in them feeling unwelcome, according to charity Leonard Cheshire.
Almost half of the people surveyed said they had experienced a negative attitude from staff at pubs and bars, while a third of respondents said they had faced similar attitudes from customers.
Disabled patrons found issues with pub layouts, toilets, menus, bar heights and a lack of step-free access, proving that there are more problems in pubs and bars than the attitudes of staff and customers.
Respondents told the charity that they felt staff treated them “like a health and safety risk,” and that it stops them from “meeting and sharing experiences with friends.”
William Ogden said that he was barred from his local pub after a misunderstanding with staff, who did not understand his disability: “I went to purchase a cake, but I did not hear the bar staff telling me to not touch it myself. She called over a bouncer. I explained I was deaf and I could not hear her, but I was barred for a year!”
While the charity reached out to a number of leading bars and pubs, only Weatherspoons responded to their request for comment, saying: “We are proud of the facilities that we offer to our customers with disabilities. Our aim is to make each and every one of them as welcome in our pubs as possible. We are especially proud of the Changing Places facilities in a number of our pubs which are very welcomed by the people and their families who need them. We are looking to add more Changing Places in our pubs in the near future.”
Leonard Cheshire’s head of policy and campaigns, Husna Mortuza, said: “Pubs, bars and the public who use them need to do much more to allow disabled people to go out and socialise in the same way as non-disabled people. Pubs are part of our national tradition and nobody should be made to feel like they are not welcome.
“This isn’t just about drinking; pubs are a great way to get out and avoid social isolation. Disabled people shouldn’t miss out, during the holiday season or any other time of year. If pubs and bars take note, they also stand a chance to cash in on the £249 billion that the disabled person market, also known as the “purple pound”, is worth.”Get your copy of UNITE Magazine
Image: Leonard Cheshire