Me & My Story
I have experienced that anxiety as a wheelchair user and assistance dog owner of going somewhere new, whether I can get in or the general customer service or whether people will help me or accommodate my assistance dog.
When I first became a wheelchair user, 20 years ago, this anxiety and fear did stop me from going out, especially independently. I lost out on a lot in life as a result, this has somewhat eased in recent years however these anxieties still exist if I go anywhere new.
Since receiving my assistance dog it has given me the confidence to go out independently, but this brings it’s own fears as I never know what customer service I will receive on my visit. Although under the Equality Act, it is illegal to refuse entrance to premises due to having an assistance dog as it is classed as a reasonable adjustment, but a lot of businesses seem unaware of this. I have experienced this leaving me humiliated through discrimination.
I strongly believe everyone regardless of their access needs should be able to go out independently without having to have someone with them and have the accessibility knowledge to do so.
The purpose of this blog is not to advise others whether they should visit certain businesses but to fully inform individuals of the access situation so they can make an informed decision based upon their personal circumstances.