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Is Worcester really disabled-friendly?

akkreditasie

Rolling Inspirations is a group that meets weekly to catch-up and discuss matters affecting people with disabilities. Each member is disabled, making use of a wheelchair or assisted walking device.

The group decided a few months ago it wanted to put the title that Worcester flaunts “Care Capital in the Western Cape” to the test and see how everyday life is affected by wheelchair accessibility in the town.

A while ago a concern reached the group that Worcester’s public library, with its renovated upstairs, had a newly installed ramp that was too steep for wheelchairs. Being the sociable group it is, members quickly decided to go and investigate.

These are their findings:

  • The doors are difficult to open when entering with a wheelchair and no assistance is offered by staff. They had to wait for other members of the public to open the heavy doors, which just about accommodates a standard wheelchair breadth. Any special chairs would have difficulty entering through these doors.
  • The ramp is easily accessed at the bottom, but a metre before the turn there is a sharp incline that can easily overturn both manual and electric wheelchairs.
  • Manual wheelchairs require a strong assistant to go up the ramp and at least two people assisting going down, while electric chairs managed just fine.
  • The shelves are spaced well enough for easy access and the low shelving enabled easy reach to the top books.
  • With all these challenges the group still enjoyed its visit and, overall, deemed the library accessible, but cautioned wheelchair users to insist on assistance on the ramp at all times. There are signs that clearly indicate manual chair users to ask for assistance. One just wonders if the staff are trained properly in assisting wheelchair users and whether they are going to take individual responsibility of anyone who is injured if their chair overturns.
  • The bathrooms were also found to be easily accessible.

Rolling Inspirations has so many other places to visit to ascertain whether wheelchair users can actually access the town and its businesses as easily as they tend to claim. Look out for the jolly group in your location soon. We look forward to highlighting all the accessible businesses to wheelchair users.

Accessibility for disabled
Accessibility is mostly a misunderstood word. Most people deem an establishment accessible if it has a door, but wheelchair users require a different approach. Most used terms are “wheelchair-friendly” or “ramped access”, yet with how much ease can a wheelchair user access your business? Is your ramp the legal requirement? Does your threshold have a step you deem low that a wheelchair cannot use? Rolling Inspirations and Breede Valley APD are here to assist, educate and enlighten all who want to be truly accessible.

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