New survey reveals shocking lack of confidence from disabled visitors with regards to access


Over 700 disabled people have described situations they have faced when experiencing disabled access at different places. The findings, revealed in the new Access Survey by the charity Euan’s Guide and Disabled Access Day, show that 83% of disabled people have been affected by poor accessibility, and 92% do not feel very confident in visiting new places when thinking about disabled access.

Wheelchair users by a river

Photograph courtesy of Euan’s Guide

In the UK, confidence was lowest among disabled people in Wales, but 95% of disabled people UK-wide admit to searching for disabled access information about a place before visiting. It was found that 85% opt to check the venue’s website first, but if disabled access is not mentioned 47% of disabled people assume it is inaccessible and choose to go elsewhere.

While confidence in accessibility is still low, places can attract more business by simply talking about their disabled access. The specific factors which make people more likely to visit somewhere were revealed by The Access Survey:

  • 86% of disabled people are more likely to visit somewhere new if they can find relevant access information about it beforehand.
  • In England especially, welcoming staff, and venues that appear to care about accessibility are popular, and 72% of disabled people would be more likely to visit somewhere that demonstrated these characteristics.
  • 70% are more likely to make a visit if they can see pictures and read what others have said about a venue first.
  • 67% like it if a venue has been recommended to them by someone with similar requirements.

The survey also highlighted the factors which can make certain places difficult to access for many disabled people:

  • 69% of disabled people said a venue’s layout, such as narrow corridors, restricted access for them.
  • 61% told Euan’s Guide that they have been unable to get into a venue due to a lack of ramp, or heavy doors for example.
  • 53% said that poor accessible toilet provision created difficulties.

It was found that 86% of disabled people, their families and friends will make a return visit to a venue that has good accessibility, and 83% will tell others about it. It is more common in Scotland for disabled people to share their experiences of disabled access with others than elsewhere in the UK.

The Access Survey also investigates how different types of places compare based on the experiences of disabled people. Compared to 2016, access in museums has improved, but opinions were most divided about public transport, hotels and music venues. This demonstrates the inconsistency in disabled access between places, making it difficult for disabled people to know what to expect when visiting somewhere for the first time.

Euan’s Guide helps to overcome this with its website which is used by disabled people, their families and friends to rate the accessibility of places they visit. Disabled people can read disabled access information for over 6,000 places, including reviews written by people with similar requirements to them; an important factor for 67% of survey respondents.

Euan MacDonald, co-founder of Euan’s Guide said:

“Euan’s Guide is all about sharing, and it was fantastic to have over seven-hundred disabled people, their families, friends and carers join in by sharing their thoughts and experiences in The Access Survey 2017. The opinions expressed in this survey will help to raise awareness and improve understanding of accessibility, and I am hopeful that future surveys will show positive trends and improvements among venues and the confidence that disabled people have in visiting them.”

The Access Survey 2017 includes the opinions of 712 people. The findings were primarily from disabled people (78%). The remainder was a combination of carers, friends, and healthcare professionals. Click here to view the survey.

Euan’s Guide also published a report on accessible toilets in 2017.

Three people celebrate with balloons

Ryan MacDonald Ambassador Network Manager, celebrates with some of the Euan’s Guide team

Funding Boost for Euan’s Guide

In other Euan’s Guide related news, the charity recently announced it had been awarded over £5,000 as part of the Awards for All programme, a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, sportscotland and Creative Scotland. Euan’s Guide will use the National Lottery funding to expand and develop its Ambassador Network in Scotland. The network is a growing number of Ambassadors who are committed to making more disabled people aware of the website and how they can use disabled access reviews.

The project, funded in conjunction with The Robertson Trust, The RS MacDonald Charitable Trust, and the Corra Foundation, was introduced in 2017 and has been a hugely successful initiative. Ambassadors are based all around Scotland and are helping to share disabled access reviews in new locations. The charity’s Ambassadors are advocates for disabled access reviews, but their diverse interests include disability sports, accessibility lifestyle blogging, occupational therapy, accessible travel and journalism.

Thanks to this new grant of £5,526 from the National Lottery, the charity can expand its Ambassador Network in its second year in order to increase the number of disabled people writing about and discovering places to visit with great disabled access.

For more information about Euan’s Guide, including how you can contribute your own access reviews, visit the Euan’s Guide website.