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UK Accessibility information for all

Accessibility is key for us wheelchair users whenver we go somewhere new and its often a little unnerving until you get to the destination to find out how well wheelchair users are catered for. There is far more information than there used to be and in general most places are more accessible than they used to be but not always.

So, one named Marg McNiel has done some useful work for us and estimated ha has covered more than a million miles to doscover the accesiblity of British public venues around the UK, taking photos along the way, so that he can share his experiences and hopefully make things a little easier.

Mr McNiel has been taking photos since he was a kid in the 50s and more recently has been focussed on producing a photographic access record of Britain and Ireland.  He estimates that the website currently covers more than 1,300 venues across Britain and Ireland, with many more of his photographs yet to be added. Developing ME in the 90's triggered this and encouraged him to come up with See Around Britain, a web site dedicated to showing access to various types of place acroos britain.

The key is to identify how wheelchair friendly the places are and the venues include accssible toilets, Shopmobility centres, defibrillators and accident and emergency departments. The site is available onlinea but also via an app that will work on IOS and Android platforms. The information includes an abundance of very useful photographs of locations such as churches, museums, cinemas, railway stations, hospitals, hotels, National Trust venues and other cultural attractions.

An interactive map helps to guide you to the area you are interested in and provides information for everyone and not solely wheelchair users. McNiel said: “Our approach and philosophy is totally different. We are mainstream and fully inclusive of disabled people, so we reach as many disabled people with impairments as possible.

“The photos save a thousand words and don’t lie. They are not pretty-pretty, they are everyday life reality.”

Not content with limiting his work to the UK he has also colated information and photographs for some sites in Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

Using the site is very easy and quickly revealed the information i wanted to see if the venues i may want to visit are wheelchair friendly. There is a disability icon in the top right of the navigation which aids the visually impaired by allowing you to customise the content of the page.

Mr McNiel wants the site to help disabled people but also anyone else who wants to check out if a location is suitable before they visit, such as families with young children, and foreign visitors, and also people with impairments who don’t see themselves as disabled. From a wheelchair users perspective the more information the better as long as it is updated and gives reliable information to assist wheelchaur users.

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