What do you think?

I wrote something along these lines on the customer feedback form of a local attraction.

“We visited your attraction in April but were unable to stay do to there being no accessible toilet facilities with a changing bench and a hoist. My son is able to use the toilet but can only do so with these facilities.

Usually, there is time to call ahead to make plans but we were representing a national charity and it was swiftly arranged. Otherwise, had I had time to check, I would not have come at all.

Here is a link to facilities which would make it possible to visit:-

http://www.clos-o-mat.com/index.php/away-from-home/space-to-change.html

My son would love to be able to visit and enjoy your facilities.”

I was clear.

We visited.

We could not stay.

I do believe that I paid £5 to park for our short visit too!

What did I expect in a reply?

Maybe an apology? 

Maybe a little sadness at learning the facilities meant that a child had a 40 minute journey home needing the toilet?

Maybe a little understanding? Empathy? Feeling?

 

What did I get?

“Dear Mrs George,

Thank you for getting in touch regarding your recent trip to ________.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your feedback and suggestions. As an organisation that is constantly striving to enhance guest experience and improve facilities on site, we very much value your constructive input.

While accessibility is something we hold in very high regard; our remote natural landscape (with some buildings hundreds of years old) and limited internal space does restrict the installation of certain aids.

Using our disabled toilets to illustrate this point, at its narrowest the room is 1.04m (between the wall and hand dryer – both permanent fixtures), at its widest the space is just 1.42m (wall to wall).

While we are sorry that this particular aid is not feasible at this time, given our current situation; we hope that you and your family will not be deterred from visiting the western-most point of Cornwall in the near future.

Best wishes,

Marketing Manager”

So I had told them that we could not stay simply due to there being no suitable accessible facilities.

Yet they value accessibility, thank me for my feedback, are unable to do anything to change it due to the “remote landscape” and they are sorry they can’t change it but hope I will come back anyway.

Erm, remember the bit where I said we came and had to go home???

We cannot visit.

Now, take a look at some of these photos, taken from their website.

 

Very old, remote and rugged looking, isn’t it?

The site may be open space and have some old buildings but that doesn’t mean they don’t have parts which could be improved.

The following is copied from their website.

“We may be biased, but we think the outdoor spaces and places in West Cornwall are the best in the country. From amazing coastlines to glorious countryside, there are hundreds of activities to enjoy, from energetic pursuits such as surfing, swimming, cycling or walking, to more passive activities such as bird watching, photography, painting, fishing or simply admiring the wonderful views.

Whatever passion you plan on indulging, you’ll need somewhere to stay in West Cornwall and we can offer not only the perfect location, but also a great choice of hotel and self-catering accommodation.

The ___________ retains much of the charm and tradition of its Victorian heritage – and with 30 en-suite bedrooms you’re sure of a comfortable and relaxed break by the sea. The adjacent ___________ restaurant which has been beautifully refurbished with a contemporary look, is a great place to relax and take in the spectacular views across the Atlantic Ocean. Choose from a range of fresh local fish and succulent steaks, or sit and relax with a drink or afternoon tea at the bar.

By contrast, the nearby ___________ offer a fantastic conversion with an exceptionally high standard, luxury 2 bedroom apartment and three luxury self-contained studio apartments located adjacent to the legendary __________Inn.”

No mention of it being old, small or restricted in terms of space.

Does Adam matter here?

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “What do you think?

  1. We were looking for somewhere to stay in Cornwall, but think we’ll give this place a wide berth. Looks like there’s masses of space in that bathroom, and the equipment you’ve described can just be folded against the wall when not in use (ceiling hoists take up such little space in themselves). We need this equipment for our daughter. She needs to pee like the rest of us. Another company paying lip service to accessibility, whilst ignoring the issues of dignity for this young man, not even an apology, how disgraceful.

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    1. The attitude of Cornwall Services and the improvements made using such a small space shows that there is no excuse for a reply like this one. They didn’t ask any questions and didn’t call in a company to see what is possible. The reply was not a compassionate one. I had made it clear that we visited but COULD NOT STAY, yet they still hope that the experience will not stop me visiting again! My heart aches.

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  2. This makes me sad.
    Sad that you had this experience in the first place and had to leave because of something so simple.
    Sad that they have no compassion for you or your son, or any of their other disabled customers it seems
    Sad that they don’t realise that ‘holding access in high regard’ means nothing unless they actually make changes to allow access
    Sad that the response basically reads ‘we wont spend our money but we still want yours’
    Sad that they are using excuses to avoid doing the right thing
    Sad that you won’t be able to go there in the future because the photos look amazing
    Sad that we wont go there either because we also need those facilities
    Sad that unless the law changes businesses will still refuse to meet the needs of their customers
    Sad that they’ve not seen the changes that Cornwall Services have made to their customers already and with no fuss or excuses
    Sad that I can’t do something to change this for you.
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There seems to always be an excuse by some people those people who say those words and think there are Right to make up such excuses, I ask them to look into our loved ones eyes tell them your excuses if that isn’t enough sit in there chair and see the world from a different view, I wish there was a way to make other feel how you felt at that time and upon response of letter, I am sure then the response would have been different we will all continue to fight for this change and we will succeed, then you can embrace the uk and it sights.

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  4. What Mum On A Mission said (much better than I could!)!
    It would seem their ‘disabled toilet’ doesn’t even comply with the building regulations basic accessible toilet either, so accessibility doesn’t seem to be held in very high regard at all 😦
    My daughter needs a bench and hoist also, so we could only visit this venue for a short period of time

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    1. That is interesting to know.

      Thank you for that information, I am not knowledgeable in such matters. I just know that my son could not “go” there.

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  5. “While we are sorry that this particular aid is not feasible at this time” would imply that it will be feasable at a point in time. So the question is, what time, and why wait til then. Football Stadiums spent a long time saying were over 100 years old, We cant change things because of the old layout of the ground. Yet they can install, new facilities for execs, media, and drink companies. The same is here. They can install fancy flat screens, retaurants and kitchen areas. Your asking for 12m2 of space. In all this area. Personally, i’d name and shame them, and do it on Trip Advisor sites also. Reputation is everything to these guys, who wants to stay at a place where they treat people as second rates because they have a disability. Were all one accident or illness away from needing one of these toilet facilities. It could happen at any minute, without warning. Its time for Change. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. To be honest I’m appalled at the attitude to alot of businesses in Cornwall!
    Cornwall Services stepped up to the mark and answered someones request not just with words but actions that will change to many lifes! Well done guys, awesome!

    Why can’t other organisations follow suit?

    Greed. Simple as that.

    In building terms nothing is impossible, spend some of your profit and stop discriminating against those less able. People want to visit you and you have put a barrier up before they even arrive. All it takes is a littl thought, some hard earned profit (surely there are grants available) and some space, which sounds like you have alot off.
    Leave the dark ages behind and join us in the 21st century.

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    1. Cornwall Services deserve recognition for their attitude. As soon as they realised that there were people who could not use their toilets they looked into what was possible and made it happen.

      Every business should have the same attitude.

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  7. To illustrate a point the marketing manager happily announces that his dis-abling toilet is less than 1.5 meters square, which apparently doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements. How can he say that ‘accessibilty is something we hold in very high regard’?
    “Hope that you and your family will not be deterred from visiting…….” His attitude is beyond belief.

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  8. It seems that they should put a big notice up to say that only non-disabled people matter at their attraction. What a poor attitude. They respond without really knowing how much effort it would take to make this happen. West Cornwall Services has shown great appreciation of disability and the needs that people have to have an accessible toilet, they need to take a leaf out of their book.

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  9. I don’t understand how attractions ect can’t see that if they where FULLY ACCESSIBLE how meny more family’s would visit, be able to stay lon her and cone bacl amother day!……. surly it makes good business sense. …… let alone the moral issues

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  10. Of course it’s not down to space issues; it’s down to cost. They’re not even prepared to be honest about that. If more businesses made the effort to be inclusive by ordering this type of facility then the cost would come down – they are in a good position to negotiate, or to fundraise or find other ways of getting grants etc. It’s adding insult to injury to suggest they’d still like you to visit – unbelievable!

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    1. I had made it very clear that we visited but could not stay. I think that is what makes the response even more hurtful.

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  11. Shocking and so ignorant of them, all I read was lies from them and basically what they are saying ..We have not listened to you and we have no understanding of your situation or care, so we choose to ignore it and hope that one day our children’s disability will vanish and you could come back … What an earth is wrong with them , the lack of empathy is heart breaking and they have no idea …

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  12. It’s disgraceful to read that response.
    Their so called disabled toilet is too small to be of any use to most people. It cerainly is of no use to our daughter!
    She is almost 15 and needs a hoist and changing table to deal with her personal care needs. Without this her recent visit to this same attraction was very brief. We only managed an hour and then had to travel back home to change her. With the correct facilities she could’ve spent the day and had lunch there.
    It would be amazing for local attractions and businesses to show they are prepared to interact with all members of their communities and provide the equipment essential for anow essential basic need.
    It may be something people don’t want think about or discuss.
    It’s something I’d rather not have to think about…..
    but not everyone can just nip to the loo! My life would be so much easier if my teenager could go to the toilet by herself.
    Unfortunately this is not the case. My amazing teenager is too big to be picked up and put on a dirty toilet floor (though I admit I’ve not done this. I’ve become a bit of a weightlifting contortionist at balancing her between her wheelchair and my lap!)
    She deserves dignity!

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    1. She does deserve dignity. I am hoping that this attraction will realise that too. It could be a wonderful place for all to visit.

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  13. The place concerned is a service provider and, must comply with equality legislation. As their accessible facilities at present do not appear to comply with recommended standards and, they have (seemingly) carried out numerous refurbishments, then I believe you could possibly challenge them under the Equality Act. Organisations are unable to do this on your behalf and, if more people pushed the challenge to law, things may change more quickly. The negatives are that it requires time and effort to carry out a challenge and, finding a no win, no one fee solicitor can take time. The positives are that a successful case results in improved access and possibly a compensatory reward. If enough people did this, access would improve. After over twenty years of legislation, the changes are far too few and many are not adequate. The problem with the law is that it uses the ‘reasonable’ measure. Is it reasonable for the business concerned to make their service accessible? That will depend on many factors such as size and turnover. However, a service provider cannot hide behind the ‘old or listed building’ excuse. It may have to provide you with documentation to prove this position

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Steve.

      I sent them an e-mail last night, asking them to read their reply to me once again and directing them to this blog to read the comments. I was hoping that they would read it and understand just what this means.

      Their response to that e-mail has left me speechless. They simply don’t care, despite trying to tell me that they do. I am heartbroken.

      I do agree though that we need to start using the law to ensure that equality legislation is enforced. “Reasonable Adjustment” is not defined in law. However, I think we would all consider it to be reasonable to expect a toilet to be provided at an attraction which wants us to stay all day, one which wants us to eat there, shop there, explore and sometimes stay late into the evening to watch the fireworks show. Why I am so special that they provide a toilet for me?

      Surely there are two options to ensure equal access? Either provide a toilet facility with a full sized bench and a hoist so that everyone can “go” or simply remove all existing toilets so that nobody can. Equality achieved!

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      1. If you email me through the disAbility Cornwall email, giving more details – perhaps I could contact them to try and push it further?

        Like

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