Disabled Access Day 2017 was the biggest ever

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Your pictures from Disabled Access Day 2017 came flooding in to TFN this week. Paul Cardwell spoke with those behind the scenes on the biggest #AccessDay yet.

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20th March 2017 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

From sailing in boats and riding horses to having barbecues and singing in choirs there was plenty of celebrations for this year’s Disabled Access Day across the UK.

Organised by the Scottish charity Euan’s Guide, Disabled Access Day 2017 ran for three days from March 10-12.

First held in January 2015 the event aims to raise awareness of the access issues faced by many disabled people and this year’s was the biggest ever.

Above: Go-karting at The Experience in Glasgow

Hundreds of businesses and attractions across the four corners of the UK took part this year opening their doors and showcasing adaptations they have made.

North of the border, North Berwick opened up its beach hut to allow people to try out their beach wheelchairs in one of the highlights of the day.

Elsewhere, the Walking on Air team in Kinross encouraged the intrepid among us to fly a glider, Dance Base in Edinburgh held an inclusive hip hop class and Glasgow Film Theatre held inclusive film showings across the weekend.

In England, Quest 88 showcased its full range of all ability cycling products in Shrewsbury while in Northern Ireland the sun shone over Belfast Lough as Sailability held a regatta style day offering sailing trips and putting on a barbecue.

Above: A British Sign Language choir at the Scottish Parliament 

Paul Ralph, founder of Disabled Access Day,  said he was delighted with how this year’s event went and how it has grown from a single day.

Ralph a powerchair user and a supporter of Euan's Guide – which is a disabled access review site – came up with idea after he went to a "try it out day" at his local bus company.

“There are too many memorable moments to list,” he said of 2017’s event.

Above: Euan MacDonald went on the Majestic bus tour in Edinburgh

“I think of the photographs from social media, meeting people out and about and hearing the multitude of stories.

“I look back at the many images and think of how I felt to see the picture of LilyMay who visited a Riding for the Disabled centre meeting a horse for the first time.

“The wonderful pictures of boats, barbecues and brilliant sunshine over Belfast Lough

“The excitement on the faces of the flash mob dancers in Leeds, the go karting in Glasgow, the cyclists in Shrewsbury, and the swimmers in Blackpool all meant so much!

Above: It wasn't just Scotland that was involved - here are youngsters at Belfast's Sailability taking part

“Memories have been made, people's lives touched and opportunities created ... the legacy will live on!”

Exact numbers of those who took part in Disabled Access Day 2017 aren’t yet known but organisers are sure it will be up from last year’s total of just over 800 businesses and organisations.

Coordinator Ryan McMullan said countless numbers of people got in touch and shared their stories, pictures and adventuress.

“During the weekend, I saw first-hand the power of people coming together and making sure that accessibility and inclusivity was second nature and not a big deal,” he said.

Above: Quest 88's all ability cycling products in Shrewsbury

It was my dream to make Disabled Access Day a beacon of celebration and I wasn’t disappointed.

“Every badge, balloon, banner, poster and arrow was proudly worn, used by everyone involved. The embarrassment surrounding disability suddenly had seemed to vanish.” 

To find out more visit the website.