ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section

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Disability & Pubs

The Disability Discrimination Act comes into force in October 2004.

The legislation requires service providers, such as publicans, to make "reasonable adjustments" to their premises to cater for disabled people. The Government believes that adjustments should not have to cost publicans a lot of money.

It covers a much wider range of needs than "the obvious", such as wheelchair users: access to toilet facilities for them is just one aspect to consider. Larger-print menus for the vision-impaired is another, for instance. Staff training will be vital.

It will be up to individual customers to say if they feel they are being discriminated against.

Legally this is all a grey area for now and an approach similar to Health & Safety - "so far as is reasonably practicable" is likely to be a good start.

Editor's note: As many of you will know, I have spent much of this year with impaired mobility (and a Merry Christmas to you too, Mr Hit and Run Driver), so I have some experience of what it's like to try to negotiate a pub when you can't walk properly, if at all. Things that caused me particular problems were strong springs on doors, both internal and external, which are hard to deal with if you have to balance on one leg and juggle crutches too. Steep steps into the premises are also a big problem. Not all seating arrangements are appropriate if your leg is in plaster, either.

It was quite an eye-opening experience for a few months, and I'm lucky that it was only temporary in my case. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the management, staff and regulars of the Live & Let Live for making sure that I didn't go without beer or food while I was non-ambulatory.

Cheers, chaps and chapesses!

ALE Summer 2004 No. 314 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA