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Finding better disability pub access

Accessible Pub Crawl in Rockhampton has a mission.

It is seeking out pubs that cater for people with disabilities.

The group has people with disabilities and workers from across the disability support sector checking out local venues, looking for potential access pitfalls.

It looks calm, all perhaps done over a few beers on a Friday night. So they’ll get together for a night out. They’ll browse the menu, order a drink, and go to the toilet, and generally assess whether the venue caters for people with different access needs.

Organiser Des Ryan, who is on the board of Spinal Life Australia, has spent years running the group.

He says the methods of assessment are pretty straight-forward.

"After we leave the hotel we rate them on the noise levels, the accessibility, the staff, toilet facilities and the difficulty of ordering a drink," Mr Ryan told the ABC.

He himself uses a wheelchair and as he points out, getting through the door can be a challenge.

"Because these are old venues, when people do refurbishments they don't always think of what would make it that little bit better for everyone,” he says.

"And of course, people have to make a profit before they can do some of these things."

His group includes people with different disabilities. And that, he says, is important, because different people have different needs.

"The first time we did it we rated a certain hotel very highly, but the blind person who came along thought it was the worst," he says.

"We were shocked, but he said it was because it was so noisy, he was isolated the whole time he was there because he couldn't hear anything."

He says pubs have to realise that providing access is not only good for the community, it’s also good for the bottom line.

He says venues need to talk to consultants before they renovate to make sure changes are appropriate and cost effective.


11th September 2017