Today my heart broke a little more.
My faith in society is damaged.
I am crushed by a business which sees the known exclusion of disabled people to be a “compromise” that it is okay to make.
Last year my family visited Lands End. We were representing a national charity and the visit was arranged at very short notice so there was none of the usual time to assess facilities ahead.
As it was, the toilet facilities were totally inadequate for our needs and would be inadequate for a lot of disabled people. We had to leave without exploring the site or stopping at the restaurant.
So we asked them to consider installing a hoist and changing bench into a toilet to create a truly accessible toilet.
Their response then was appalling and there was a lot of support for us on their Facebook page but they deleted all comments, instead of responding to them. Fortunately, large numbers of people had taken screen shots of the comments and sent them to me and they were included in my earlier post Lands End is not for everyone.
After some pressure from the public and local news they did speak to me about this and said they would look into it.
Today I took a crushing telephone call. All quotes were quickly notated during the conversation and are from a representative of Lands End.
“We do not believe we should be putting money into a hoist in the near future.”
I asked if they understood that without this people are excluded. They do.
“We have to make compromises. This is a compromise we accept now”.
I asked what would happen when families like mine visit. Lands End accept that those families would have the same experience that we had – they would need to leave their loved one to sit in soiled clothing or simply leave.
I asked if it is better that families like mine should just stay away.
“Unfortunately that is the conclusion.”
They may well feel that this is just a business decision, but it isn’t.
They had a choice to make it possible for people with disabilities to visit and enjoy the facilities. Shouldn’t a visitor attraction be open to all?
They could have told disabled people that they are welcomed and wanted but instead, they have told us that we are neither welcome nor wanted.