Subscription Rooms

Subscription Rooms

Lansdown Hall & Gallery | 25th September 2018

Location: Subscription Rooms
George Street
Stroud
Gloucestershire, GL5 1AE

Date of visit: 25th September 2018

Parking

There are 8 public disabled parking bays for blue badge holders located at the back of the building. There is also a rear entrance where disabled performers can park right outside, there is room for 1 car here. This is great for disabled visitors to the Subscription rooms. The nearest public cark park is at Stroud train station which is about a 10-minute walk for somebody in a wheelchair. You can park here for free with a blue badge.

Accessibility

There is a ramp to the right hand-side of the building and electric doors to enter, there are then 3 steps leading to the building and a ramp to the right hand-side. Directly to the left is the tourist information centre which has ample access around the room. There reception desk was quite high with no lowered section.

The ballroom is on the first floor, standard access is up a flight of stairs. The lift is located to the left-hand side of the stairs and down a corridor which is tight but wide enough for my wheelchair, some larger chairs or scooters may find this too small.

The lift brings you out to a landing which is also the refuge point in the case of an emergency. There is an evac chair here and there are two sets of stairs that can be used to exit the building. Just through the landing is the entrance to the ballroom.

The ballroom is a large open space with large windows for natural lighting. The room can be hired out for events and performances, the stage is next to the entrance for the room and can only be accessed via some steps to the right (if looking at the stage). This makes it inaccessible for wheelchair performers.

The room can be set up for an audience of up to 400 for theatre events with chairs, wheelchairs are seated in the first 4 rows at front of the stage as this is the closest to the fire exit in the case of an emergency. Each wheelchair space replaces two standard seats. There is also a balcony area, this is typically used when a show is sold out for extra seating, however they would allow this space to be used for somebody on request if they would prefer to be away from crowds etc.

At the back of the room through a passageway is the Kendrick bar which is open throughout performances, the doorway through here is quite tight for wheelchair users. The bar is directly to the left which could cause congestion for people trying to get through to the queue and be difficult for a wheelchair user to get through. To the right-hand side of the bar is another door which takes you back to the landing and refuge point.

The dressing room is on the second floor which is accessible via the lift. I was unable to look inside the dressing room as it had been hired out privately. There was a walkway which was outlined by some tape so that the gangway was kept clear of chairs etc.

Lift

The lift is large enough for a wheelchair and for somebody to assist but not large enough to turn around in. The buttons are easy to reach and there is a lift voice communication.

Toilet

The disabled toilet is located to the right hand-side of the building on the ground floor. The toilet was very small and difficult to use for a wheelchair users. It is not very well placed with the door blocking the ladies toilet doorway when open. The facilities within the toilet are adequate with the sink, dryer and soap dispenser within reach and they were kept clean. The sign on the emergency cord is a good idea to remind people it should not be tied out of the way, I am going to be creating my own version of these to give to other venues.

Café

The café tables are all inaccessible for a wheelchair user to get underneath as they are so narrow and the bar has no lowered section.

Accessibility Rating

Physical

Three out of five

Sensory

Three out of five

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Lansdown Hall & Gallery

Lansdown Hall & Gallery

Lansdown Hall & Gallery | 25th September 2018

Location: Lansdown Hall & Gallery
Lansdown
Stroud
Gloucestershire
GL5 1BB

Date of visit: 25th September 2018

Parking

There are 5 designated disabled parking bays located outside of the Lansdown Hall, where you can park for free for 3 hours with a blue badge. However, there is no lowered kerb on either side of the road so these are no good for somebody in a wheelchair or using a walking aid.

The closest car park is Church Street Public car park, this is a short stay car park and you can park for 2 hours with a blue badge. This journey took approx. 10 minutes in a wheelchair and involves a hill which could be difficult for somebody using a manual chair or a walking aid.

I also visited the Merrywalks Shopping Centre car park which is close by, they were doing work to the car park and we couldn’t find the disabled bays.

Accessibility

Gallery

There is a ramp leading to the entrance and a bell at the door for disabled guests to ring if the door is shut. I rang the bell and somebody came to assist within seconds. There was a display at the top of the ramp which was an obstruction in the pathway for my wheelchair. Once inside the door there was a chair obstructing the pathway to the toilets.

Access within the gallery is good, there is lots of open space and lighting is bright.

For the current exhibition there was a book for people to write their comments in about the art work, this was on a tall block table and too high for somebody in a wheelchair.

Toilet – Gallery

There is a disabled toilet located at the end of the building through an archway, there is no clear signage from the gallery until you get through the archway and there is a sign which is high up and out of eyeline for a wheelchair user.

Inside the toilet is a wide spacious room with enough room to turn around in and non-slip flooring. The toilet is for right-hand transfer and there are adequate hand rails for transfer. Underneath the paper towel dispenser are two bins which make it difficult to reach for a wheelchair user. The soap dispenser, sink and toilet roll dispenser are all at adequate height.

Hall

When arriving at the main entrance to the venue which is downstairs in the gallery, there is no signage to indicate how you get upstairs to the hall if you are a wheelchair user. There are stairs to the side of the building inside but no lift, there is access to the hall for wheelchair users, but you are required to leave the venue and walk through the bank gardens which takes approx. 5 minutes. There is no signage from the ground floor explaining this route.

This takes you to the back of the building and to the second floor where you can enter through a fire exit door. This door can only be opened from the inside, so you would need to notify somebody of your arrival to ensure it is open if you are unable to use the stairs. Lansdown Hall recommend calling in advance if you have special requirements, so they can ensure to accommodate you as best as possible.

I visited when the hall was empty which is when it is used for classes etc, however they can fill it with up to 135 seats for performances. There is 1.05cms left either side of the walkway and down the middle leaving plenty of space for a wheelchair to navigate through. Wheelchair users would be place at the front of the venue and 2 seats are removed in the place of one wheelchair.

The only access to the stage is via stairs at the front or the back of the stage, making it inaccessible for performers in wheelchairs.

They do offer a hearing loop system for the deaf.

Accessibility Rating

Physical

Three out of five

Sensory

Four out of five

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Blackfriars

Blackfriars

Blackfriars | 10th July 2018

Location: Ladybellegate St, Gloucester, GL1 2HS
Date of visit: 10th July 2018

Parking

There are seven disabled bays located outside the Blackfriars, in the Lady Bellegate street car park which is a council owned car park, you can park here for free with a blue badge.

There is also an NCP car park which backs directly onto this car park, there are disabled parking bays in this car park however, there is no free parking with a blue badge, so you will need to pay for a ticket.

Accessibility

There is a small curb to gain access to the main entrance, they have a temporary ramp for this which would remain in place if there was an event on. This takes you through a stone archway and down a wide pathway. There are some benches to the right of the pathway on some grass. At the bottom of the pathway is another archway which leads through to a courtyard, here you can access the North, East and South range.

  • The North Range

Turning left through the archway takes you down to the North range, this is an original priory church building and is used for events such as weddings and parties as well as theatre productions and music events. There is a small slope leading down to two sets of wide doors, these would be open during an event. There are two floors to the North range, the second floor is up 5 steps, both floors are all open plan and there is a platform lift available to the left of the stairs. All areas are accessible for wheelchair users.

  • The East Range

Heading out of the North range and turning left takes you to the East range where there are three floors. The first floor has a small room which can be used for meetings or signing of the registers for a wedding. There is a wooden ramp that has been built throughout the first floor which makes the accessibility very good. There is also another door in here via which can be accessed via the ramp, this leads to a garden and then through to the top floor of the north range. There is a piece of ramp leading down to a empty part of the building, there is not much to see down here and floor is very uneven so I would avoid going down here.

The second floor can be accessed via a platform lift, when exiting to the lift your first right takes you to a café/bar area with some small tables to sit at, these were suitable for a wheelchair, although a large wheelchair may find it difficult to find underneath. There is a fold out section of the bar which is slightly lower and an appropriate height for a wheelchair to order and pay for drinks. Next door along is access to the toilets, the disabled toilet is at the end of the corridor.

The third floor is also accessible via the lift, there is a smaller room here which can also be used for events, there is a flat entrance and is all accessible.

Lift

The two platform lifts in the North and East range are both easy to use, the buttons are at a low height. However, they do have manual doors so a wheelchair user or somebody with a visual impairment may need assistance to do this.

Toilets

The disabled toilet is located on the second floor to the East range and requires access via the lift. It is very spacious, large enough to turn around in, as it is located at the end of a corridor it is easier to turn around in here rather than reversing down the corridor which is not wide enough to turn around in. The toilet is on the back wall to the left as you enter, and the emergency cord is in corner next to the toilet. There is an adjustable handrail and wall mounted hand rail to each side for left and right-side transfer. The sink, hand dryer and soap dispenser were all at a lowered height. The toilets were very clean.

Accessibility Rating

(five out of five stars)

Visit website for bookings: http://www.gloucesterblackfriars.co.uk/

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Nature in Art

Nature in Art | 7th April 2017

Parking

There is disabled parking located at the front of the building for three cars.

Accessibility

There is a ramp leading into the front of the building making it easy for wheelchair users. You enter straight into the gift shop with a gallery to your right hand side. There is plenty of space to get about in a wheelchair.

There are three galleries within the building, two of which are upstairs. To access these galleries upstairs, there is a lift available on the ground floor. There is a ramp leading outside into the beautiful gardens, there is no gravel or path around the garden but it is easily accessible for wheelchair users especially during the summer months. Any carer with a disabled member has free entry.

There is an education centre located at the back of the gardens, they have art courses and activity days held here.

Lift

The lift is wheelchair accessible but is rather small, therefore, not large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in or enough space for a PA or family member to assist a wheelchair user. This would not be suitable for somebody that would need to be supervised to use the lift. The buttons are nice a low and easy to use for somebody that is able to use these.

Toilet

There is a disabled toilet located in the education centre. This is a large wheelchair accessible toilet, with space for a wheelchair to turn around in safely and a family member or PA to assist a wheelchair user. There are handrails for both transfer sides and the sink, hand dryer and toilet paper dispenser are all accessible for wheelchair users.

Café

There is access to the coffee shop through the main building, or you can access the coffee shop using the ramp outside. The coffee shop is wheelchair accessible with an open seating plan. They offer A4 size menus for the visually impaired.

They have three special chalk boards located above the counter, for easy viewing.

The lighting in the coffee shop is nice and bright.

Accessibility Rating

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GL1 Leisure Centre

GL1 Leisure Centre | 22nd March 2017

Parking

There are 10 disabled parking spaces outside the front of the leisure centre.

Accessibility

There are two large, automatic doors leading into the venue.

For the swimming pool there are designated accessible toilets/changing rooms located on the ground floor. The one has a toilet, handrails for transfer sides and a walk in shower with a seat. The other changing offers exactly the same however, this one also offers a hoist, these changing rooms/toilets require a RADAR key.

The lockers and wristbands are charged at £1 each. This is the same for the ones in the gym. There are two main pools which offer a hoist. A trained member of staff will assist the wheelchair user when using the hoist. The most suitable time to use the pool for somebody with a disability is between 6.30am-9.00am which is the ‘Early Risers’ session and is the quietest time of day.

There are two disabled toilets/changing rooms for the gym, for male and female use. They are located on the first floor. The gym offers facilities to accommodate a wheelchair user and some of the machines in the gym can be operated by a wheelchair user. Once an induction has been completed by a trained member of staff, a PA or family member may assist a wheelchair user in the gym. It is advisable to book in advance for a PT session for a wheelchair user.

Lift

There is  a lift located to the right of the building, this will take you up to the gym. The lift is accessible for wheelchair users, it is not large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in but does have enough space for a PA or family member to assist a wheelchair user. The buttons are easy to reach on the outside and on the inside of the lift.

Customer Service

The staff members are very helpful, friendly and well mannered. The manager Chris took the time out of his day to show us around and answer our questions.

Restaurant/Café

The restaurant/café is accessible for wheelchair users, they serve food from 10am until 5pm. The menu choices are all up on the wall on a large board.

Accessibility Rating

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Victoria Pleasure Gardens

Victoria Pleasure Gardens | 6th June 2018

Parking

Gloucester Road Car Park is right on the doorstep to the gardens. There is only one disabled parking spot, however all the car park is easy to access. Blue badge holders can park for free.

Accessibility

Victoria pleasure gardens is a hidden beauty in Tewkesbury, they are tended to by ‘The Friends of Victoria Pleasure Gardens’ which is a volunteer group who joined together after the 2007 floods to bring life back to the gardens. The Borough Council mow the grass and the volunteers tend to the beautiful flower beds, they also have support from members and local charities to help with the costs.

There are three Archway entrances to the gardens, one from Gloucester Road Car Park, one on Gloucester Road and the last on Mill Street. All the entrances are accessible for wheelchairs, Mill Street being the most uneven of the three, however still manageable.

All the pathways around the gardens are fully accessible, they are nice and wide and the ground is even, the edges are neatly trimmed so it is easy to see. There are benches dotted around the gardens with space on the end of the benches for a wheelchair to sit so that you can sit with somebody who is at a bench. My wheelchair was able to mount the grass from the pathway if you wanted to sit on the grass – perfect for picnics! The gardens aren’t enormous, so don’t expect a day out here, but they are lovely to visit none the less.

You are right on the bank to the River Avon and at the one end to the gardens is the old Tewkesbury Mill and a Weir, there is quite a lot of noise created from the Weir, personally I find this quite relaxing however, others may find this too noisy.

Toilets

There are some public toilets located in Gloucester Road Car Park, there is one disabled toilet which requires a RADAR key. The disabled toilet has handrails for both transfer sides, and the facilities within the toilet are all at a lowered height for a wheelchair user. They are council public toilets, you are required to pay 20p for the non-disabled toilets. Considering they are public toilets, the cleanliness is pretty good. They are cleaned everyday at 6pm.

Customer Service

Rosemary from the friends of Victoria pleasure gardens very kindly took the time out of her day to show us around the gardens and answer all of our questions and talk all about her enthusiasm for the gardens.

 

Accessibility Rating

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The Roses Theatre

The Roses Theatre

The Roses Theatre | 1st June 2018

Parking

There is no customer parking at the theatre, however, there are a few standard parking spaces on Sun Street if you can get a space. The closest public car park is Oldbury Road Car Park which is only approx. 100 yards away, there are four disabled bays here and you can park for free with a disabled badge.

Accessibility

There is an automatic double door to enter the building, which leads to a large foyer and the box office reception. There is a lowered section to the reception which makes it easy for somebody in a wheelchair to book and pay for their own tickets or to ask for help or advice. The café is immediately to the left which also leads to the auditorium.

When entering the auditorium, the immediate row as you go in is designated for disabled customers, they have two seats that are permanently removed for wheelchairs, however, the entire row of chairs can be easily removed and fits up to 11 wheelchairs. There are emergency exits on the end of each row which involves no stairs, as well as 4 other exits within the room. The entire row has the best seats in the house and a fantastic view of the stage giving a very enjoyable theatre experience.

It is advised to notify the theatre before arrival if you are in a wheelchair so they can ensure there is enough room for you in this row.

They offer audio description headsets for somebody who is blind or visually impaired which describes to somebody what is going on in the performance, they allow guide dogs into the building and they also offer subtitle screenings for the deaf. They also have parent and babies showings where they show PG, 12 and 15 rated films and parents can take along their babies/toddlers without the worry of them disturbing other viewers.

Upstairs next to the bar is a wide open space where they hold live music and comedy. This is all accessible.

The Roses Theatre – Tewkesbury Visit the website to see what shows are currently on.

Cafe

The café has some small tables and chairs in which were suitable for my wheelchair to fit under, they serve hot and cold drinks and some light snacks here. There is a small menu on the side of the wall but most of what is sold is on show over the counter. There is a lowered section to the counter.

Before entering the auditorium, there is also a small shop selling cold drinks, sweet and chocolates to enjoy the show with, again the bar is nice and low and easy for a wheelchair user.

Upstairs there is a bar serving other beverages as well as alcohol. To the left of the bar is a lowered section.

Toilets

There are two disabled toilets, one on each floor. The ground floor toilets are through the café and to the left, there are adequate hand rails for transfer and the sink, toilet roll dispenser is at an appropriately lowered height, including the mirror! The same applies for the first-floor toilet which is the larger of the two. The toilets have recently had a revamp and were nice and new and clean.

Lift

The lift is located at the back of the building through the café and past the toilets, the buttons are low and within reach for somebody using a wheelchair. The lift isn’t huge but was big enough for a wheelchair and two other people standing, to fit in at a squeeze. A wheelchair could not turn around within the lift.

 

Customer Service

Caroline, Head of Marketing, kindly showed us around the venue and gave us all the information required. She told us about their recent refurbishment at The Roses and when this took place they did it with accessibility in mind and she was happy to see they had done a good job following our feedback. She also advised how all of their staff have had Dementia Awareness Training to help their staff be better prepared for challenging behaviours.

Accessibility Rating

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Sherborne Cinema

Sherborne Cinema

Sherborne Cinema | 11th May 2018

Parking

There is parking located to the left of the building and there is one disabled spot.

Accessibility

There is a paved ramp leading into the front of the venue and there is a large accessible double door. The ticket booth is located on the left hand side, this is where you can purchase your tickets and also some snacks and drinks.

There is one cinema screen; this is where all the films are shown. The back row has space for three wheelchair users.The aisle is wider than your average cinema and you are welcome to sit on the end of the aisle in your wheelchair if it is a smaller wheelchair, this may be more suitable for somebody with a sight impairment so they can be closer to the screen. It is advisable to turn up early if you are in a wheelchair so the most suitable. It Is advisable to turn up early if you are in a wheelchair so the most suitable seat for you can be found before everybody else arrives.

They also offer headphones for the blind, this facility offers audio description through the headphones and guide dogs are welcome into the building.

There is a small porch over the main entrance to the cinema, this was added for sound proof. It makes it a little tight getting into the cinema.

Toilets

The toilets are on the right hand side of the building, the disabled toilet or ‘easy access toilet’ as Mark has called it, is at the end of the corridor on the left. The toilet is big enough for somebody to assist a wheelchair user and has suitable hand rails for transferring, The sink, hand dryer and toilet paper dispenser are all at a suitable lowered height.

Customer Service

Mark is an extremely friendly gentleman who has an obvious passion for film and has done a great job at keeping the traditional and personal touch within his cinema, it was a pleasure to meet him and I look forward to many more cinema trips in the future.

 

https://www.sherbornecinema.co.uk/programme Take a look at the website for up to date programme times

 

 

Accessibility Rating

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The Orchard Trust

The Orchard Trust

The Orchard Trust | 5th January 2018

The Orchard Trust are a registered charity based in the Forest of Dean, they have two supported living homes in Lydney and four residential homes located in Lydbrook, Coleford and Ruardeen Hill. There is also a day centre facility which is located in Lydbrook, just a short distance from the home. The day centre is open to the public as well as the service users during the hours of 09.00am-03.00pm They welcome and accommodate people from all walks of life, including all physical disabilities, the elderly as well as mental health issues or even people that just need a bit support. There is no charge to visit the smallholding and sensory garden but they also offer Activities, Creativity, Engagement (A.C.E) you can read the details here on the website as well as pricing.

Parking and Location

Orchard Trust can be tricky to find as a first-time visitor, click here to view directions, my top tip would be to look out for the concrete bus shelter opposite the turning and it’s pretty easy from there.

Once you reach the top of the hill there is a car park located on the righthand side, the small car park is unmarked and there are no designated disabled spots but the accessibility from the car park to the venue is fine. There is a newly paved even pathway leading from the car park to the reception area.

Accessibility 

The Orchard Trust reached out to me and asked me to visit the site, the purpose of my visit was to advise them on how they can improve accessibility issues they have as they are looking to make continuous improvements to the site. They are located on an uneven hillside which causes some accessibility issues.

Learning Centre

The main learning centre and reception point is in a two-story converted barn with no lift, the only access point to the second story for wheelchair users is across a raised ramp which you are required to go outside for, the turning point into the building is quite tight and a little tricky to manoeuvre. All the doors across the site are manual so a wheelchair user would require assistance from somebody who is able bodied. Despite some of the accessibility issues, I was still able to access all areas of the building.#

Kitchen

Within the learning centre is a kitchen with four separate colour coded areas, in each area there is an oven, a sink and basic kitchen appliances such as chopping boards and frying pans etc. In the pink kitchen there is a height adjustable worktop at the touch of a button. There is plenty of space to navigate around the kitchen in my wheelchair.

Activity Park

There is a newly built activity park which is designed for adults with disabilities as well as children, there are also activities for the able-bodied which provides a fun day out for all families. In the park there is a swing and merry-go-round designed for wheelchairs to mount. Along side it is a standard swing to all be enjoyed at the same time and the merry-go-round has seats to be sat on as well as up to 2 wheelchairs. There is also a in ground trampoline which will also hold a wheelchair.

Activity Park

There is a newly built activity park which is designed for adults with disabilities as well as children, there are also activities for the able-bodied which provides a fun day out for all families. In the park there is a swing and merry-go-round designed for wheelchairs to mount. Along side it is a standard swing to all be enjoyed at the same time and the merry-go-round has seats to be sat on as well as up to 2 wheelchairs. There is also a in ground trampoline which will also hold a wheelchair.

Smallholding

There is a lovely smallholding which is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Here you’ll find some farm animals including Milly the pig, sheep, pygmy goats (two of which are pregnant!), chickens and ducks which you are able to pet and feed. The goats in particular are very fun and friendly!

There is a newly paved pathway which leads around the smallholding, it is wide enough for two wheelchairs to pass by each other. There are also stopping points with benches dotted along the pathway, so people can stop for a rest if needed.

At the far end of the walkway there is a sheltered wooden outdoor classroom, in here is a long bench purposely built to fit a wheelchair underneath. It’s also nice and quiet in here with a nice view and perfect for a picnic.

Sensory Garden

Even though I visited the sensory garden on a cold winter day I was still able to appreciate the surroundings, I can imagine it would be twice as lovely in the summer.

I was able to navigate around all the garden in my wheelchair, however some of the areas I wasn’t able to reach from my wheelchair due to them being too far away from the pathway.

There was however still plenty of areas I could enjoy including a xylophone, plants I could touch, feel and smell and a small water feature.

Toilets

There is a disabled toilet located round the back of the building on the ground floor in the learning centre. There is quite a tight turning point into the toilet which is hard to manoeuvre as a wheelchair user.

I was unable to transfer from my wheelchair to the toilet due to not having an appropriate hand rail. There are manual adjustable hand rails for left and right-hand transfer, however for me to be able to transfer from my wheelchair I need a static handrail attached to the wall that doesn’t move for safety purposes. I advised Phill about this and he said he would look to install a new handrail as soon as possible.

I was unable to turn the tap on by myself as it was too stiff, again Phill is aware of this and considering other options. The toilet paper and soap dispenser are also a little too high for me in my wheelchair.

There is an overhead hoist and an adjustable bed however I didn’t use these facilities, so I can’t comment any further.

There is enough room in the toilet for a wheelchair to turn around safely.

Note there is another toilet in the Leisure Centre which I was able to use.

Leisure Centre

There was a flat entrance into the leisure centre, it was accessible through a manual double door. There was also an accessible fire exit at the back of the building via a ramp.

There is an onsite fully equipped pool room, jacuzzi and floor level trampoline. I didn’t use any of these facilities however, at first glance they all looked very good. There was somebody in the swim gym, so I couldn’t look at this area, but I did view the rebound centre which has a ground level trampoline with a hoist to assist with transfer. There was plenty of soft mats around the trampoline to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

There is a disabled toilet in the leisure centre, access to the toilet is not ideal for a wheelchair user as you are required to drive the wheelchair over the mats for the trampoline and there is a danger of driving over the trampoline by mistake causing damage or injury.

Customer Service

Project manager Phill Hucks and George gave us the tour of the venue, they were both very polite and friendly and took all my comments on board with a view to take action. It is obvious that they both have a passion to give their service users the best experience possible.

Accessibility Rating

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Subscription Rooms

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Lansdown Hall & Gallery

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Christmas Market at Gloucester Quays

Christmas Market at Gloucester Quays

16th November 2017 – 24th December 2017

I visited the Christmas market at Gloucester Quays where there are lots of nice stalls selling Christmas items and food. It is a great atmosphere and I would recommend a visit. There is also an ice rink next to the market, read about it here!

Parking

There are plenty of disabled parking spaces located in the Quays car park where you can park for free for up to four hours with a blue badge. It is about a five minute journey in a wheelchair from the car park down to the ice rink. Read Gloucester Quays parking review here

Accessibility

The accessibility around the market was good and I was able to access all areas in my wheelchair. All of the stalls were accessible and I was able to view the items on sale. Some of them were quite high but the stall assistants were happy to come round and help if required.

There are a few ramps around the market to help you get around and leading up to the two bar areas.

Toilets

There are some temporary portaloos with a disabled toilet however, the facilities in the toilet weren’t great and it was very small. There are also the toilets inside the Gloucester Quays shopping centre which have excellent disabled facilities. Read my full review here

Accessibility Rating

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Lansdown Hall & Gallery

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Ice Rink at Gloucester Quays

Ice Rink at Gloucester Quays

Ice Rink | 15th November 2017

I was lucky enough to be invited to the VIP launch event for Gloucester Quays festive ice rink.

The temporary ice rink is located in the docks between 16th November-2nd January, there is also a Victorian and enchanted German market running between 16th November and 24th December.

This is a great activity for families and they are also very accommodating for people with disabilities.

Parking

There are plenty of disabled parking spaces located in the Quays car park where you can park for free for up to four hours with a blue badge. It is about a five minute journey in a wheelchair from the car park down to the ice rink.

Accessibility

My experience on the ice rink was great as a wheelchair user, you are able to use a manual wheelchair on the ice but electric wheelchairs are not permitted. If you don’t have a manual wheelchair you can hire one free of charge from Gloucester Quays.

The ice rink is a decent size and is quite safe to skate around on in a wheelchair. If you are not a confident skater they can offer supportive shoes which can be worn over the top of your own shoes instead of skates.

There is a ramp leading up to the rink entrance with easy access to the ice and there is also a spacious fitting room where you can swap your shoes for skates. There is a small step getting onto the ice this is easy to navigate with a manual wheelchair.

Customer Service

I was invited by Hazel to attend the launch night she was very friendly and helpful and answered all of my questions. Another staff member kindly pushed me around on the ice for a little while.

Toilets

There are some temporary portaloos with a disabled toilet however, the facilities in the toilet weren’t great and it was very small. There are also the toilets inside the Gloucester Quays shopping centre which have excellent disabled facilities. Read my full review here

Accessibility Rating

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Cattle Country

Cattle Country

30th June 2017

Cattle country is a great day out for families. There is lots to do for young children of all ages. There are limitations for the disabled but the park can still be enjoyed. All the staff members were very friendly, helpful and well mannered. Stuart the manager took the time out of his day to find us and answer any of our questions. An on-site vet ensurse the animals are well looked after and the park is kept clean and tidy. There are no smoking areas and first aid kits located around the park to ensure a pleasant and safe trip. Overall I would recommend this as a fun day out!

Accessibility

There are designated disabled parking spaces. However these were not very clearly displayed. There was an accessible double door with a ramp leading into the venue. The reception point was accessible but it was quite high.

There were lots of accessible areas for wheelchair users although there were some restricted areas.

There was a farmyard trail that can be accessed by wheelchair users. On the farmyard there were lots of animals including pigs that you could feed. There was also an area where you could wash your hands after feeding the pigs which was also accessible.

There was an indoor animal area where you could get close and personal with the animals. This was accessible for wheelchair users including the hand wash stations.

There was also an accessible grassy area with picnic benches.

There are lots of areas around the park which are great fun for kids but are inaccessible for wheelchair users. These include a huge pillow for bouncing on, mini golf, a splash pool, climbing frames, a boating lake and two soft-play areas but it is possible to watch family and friends from a short distance away.

Toilets

The main downfall of the park was that there was only one disabled toilet. Considering the size of the park this is not ideal as there was another block of public toilets located at the bottom of the park where a second accessible loo could have been installed. The disabled toilet is located at the top of park, it has handrails for both side transfers. The sink, hand dryer and toilet paper dispenser are all accessible for wheelchair users.

It is large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in safely and there is enough room for a family member or PA to assist a wheelchair user. The toilet doesn’t require a RADAR key and unfortunately there wasn’t a workable lock on the door so it’s open to all and not very private! The lighting was poor inside the toilet when the door was shut.

Café

There is an onsite café with a ramp leading up to the double doors. The only menu was a chalk board. This wasn’t suitable for visitors who are visually impaired.

The café was light, spacious and open plan, but there were no booths. This would unsuitable for visitors sensitive to loud noises.

The food was satisfactory and served quickly and there were small round tables inside and outside that were suitable for wheelchair users.

Accessibility Rating

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Westminster

Westminster

My interview with Richard Graham

Posted by Christian Drewitt on Friday, 9 June 2017

 

 

Today, 25th April 2017, I was invited to meet Richard Graham, my local MP for Gloucester at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

I had been invited by my employer at the time, Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester, to discuss the details of my role as Disability Access Assessor and my progress within Marketing Gloucester. We also took the opportunity to assess the accessibility of the Houses of Parliament which was a very interesting experience.

On arrival, we started our journey at 1 Parliament Street. Once we’d got through the rigorous security process and collected our visitor ID badges, we made our way through the corridor where we were greeted by Megan Trethewey.

We then took the lift up to meet Richard Graham  and we were also introduced to Charlotte Farrow, Policy Officer, Disability Issues for the Department of Work and Pensions. Charlotte took the time out of her day to discuss her job role and offer any advice and help she could, to support my project.

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We discussed with Richard Graham what it is involved in my job role. I explained to him that I’m working as the Disability Access Assessor for Marketing Gloucester and my brief is to create an Accessible Disability Guide for the city of Gloucester, by visiting local tourist attractions, venues, facilities etc.

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After our discussion we started the tour of the Houses of Parliament.

We left 1 Parliament Street and made our way down the lift to Portcullis House. The lift was completely accessible and had braille buttons for the visually impaired.

The stunning glass-roofed Portcullis House was completely accessible for wheelchair users. We were able to meet the then current MPs.  I discussed my project with them and what my plans are for the future, hopefully to expand and provide assessment of other cities around the UK.

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock

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Nick Watts from Newsnight

Robert Wilson

Rob Wilson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society

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Royston Smith - Chris Green

Royston Smith & Chris Green

 

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Graham Brady

We then took the lift down to make our way to the Palace of Westminster. We used the tunnel that connects with the underground station, which was completely accessible, however, the lighting was extremely dim, which would be difficult for somebody who is visually impaired.

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We met a few more people along the way, all busy with their occupations but taking the time to talk to me.

Kate Green

Kate Green, then MP for Stretford and Urmston.

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Marcus Fysh

Marcus Fysh, then MP for Yeovil and South Somerset.

Alok Sharma - Mark Garnier

Alok Sharma (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Minister for Asia and Pacific)

& Mark Garnier (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade)

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Once inside Westminster Hall it was clearly extremely accessible. It has a large open space and it was no trouble for a wheelchair to get around on the flag-stoned floor.

Also, as you enter to the right of the building there are wheelchairs for visitors to borrow if necessary.

 

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We made our way to the back of the Hall in order to access the Central Lobby.

Here we met Frederick the Doorkeeper who showed us where to go next.

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We had to walk outside and up the ramp to be able to get into the next part of the building. There are more lifts to take you up to the Central Lobby, this is all completely accessible.

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The House of Lords and the Committee Rooms are all also accessible.

St Stephen’s Hall was the only place that we came across that was inaccessible within the Central Lobby.

The outside terrace is also accessible, with a ramp leading out to it and has beautiful views of both the River Thames and the London Eye.

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There is also clear access to the gift shop and café, with a glass lift leading down to both.

Sincere thanks go to Richard Graham for spending so much time with us to ensure we missed nothing. It was a very successful day and everyone we met was very welcoming, positive and interested in my work.

Accessibility Rating

 

 

 

 

Sailing for Disabled at Over Basin

Sailing for Disabled at Over Basin

26th April 2017

http://www.sailing4disabled.org.uk/

Had fun driving the boat for Sailing for Disabled last week 👍🏼

Posted by Christian Drewitt on Wednesday, 3 May 2017

This is a fantastic attraction for all wheelchair users. Pete’s passion and care for the disabled really shows in his work and I enjoyed his company from start to finish. It is great to come across people who have a real passion for helping people with disabilities and I highly recommend this little trip. The half-mile boat trip runs Tuesdays only from 11am until 2pm

Pete owns an accessible, fully electric boat that can carry up to three wheelchairs and two crew members.

There is a ramp on the front of the boat which winds down onto the slipway for wheelchair access. Wheelchairs  need to be pulled on backwards for easier access when leaving the boat. Pete or a member of the crew are happy to help with this. The boat will take you along the canal with lots of things to see.

This service is free to use however, if you wish to make a donation then you can.

Accessibility Rating

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National Waterways Museum

National Waterways Museum

19th April 2017

There is disabled parking located in the Gloucester Quays Outlet Shopping Centre.

There is a flat entrance leading into the venue with a large accessible double door.

The staff were all friendly and well-mannered, Sam helped to answer any of our questions.

Toilets

There are disabled toilets located on the ground floor, these are accessible for wheelchair users.

There is enough room for a wheelchair to turn around safely.

There is enough room for a family member or PA to assist a wheelchair user.

There are handrails for both transfer sides.

The sink, hand dryer and toilet paper dispenser are all accessible for wheelchair users.

The toilet itself is lower than usual .

The lighting is nice and bright, the toilets are nice, clean and safe to use.

The lower ground floor of the museum is completely accessible for wheelchair users. There are lots of things to view and look at on the lower ground floor.

Lift

There is a lift located on the ground floor which will take you to first floor attractions.

The lift is wheelchair accessible. The lift is not large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in safely. There is enough room for a family member or PA to assist a wheelchair user.

The lift door closes quickly!

The lift has easy to reach buttons and the lighting is nice and bright.

On the first floor there are more attractions to see and do. There is plenty of space for a wheelchair user to get around easily.

Café

There is a small café located on the ground floor. They serve drinks and cakes from 10am until 4.30pm.

There are a few accessible tables and a few more tables located outside.

There is also a small accessible gift shop, selling memorabilia.

 

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Accessibility Rating

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Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre

Gloucester Ski & Snowboard Centre

24th March 2017

There is one disabled parking space situated in the car park

There is a long steep hill, leading up to the venue for the disabled access point. This is currently under construction and there are no visible sign posts telling you where to go. A second disabled parking space is planned on completion.

Although not sign posted or very clear, the reception entrance is around the building on the right hand side.

There is quite a lip leading into the door but my electric wheelchair managed to get up this okay.

The staff were very friendly and helpful, Richard took the time out of his day to show us around and answer our questions.

Toilets

There is a disabled toilet located in the reception area, where you collect ski equipment.

It is accessible for wheelchair users, it is large enough for a wheelchair to turn around in safely and there is enough room for a PA or family member to assist a wheelchair user.

The toilet has a handrail for both transfer sides.

The sink, hand dryer and toilet paper dispenser are all accessible for wheelchair users.

The toilet doesn’t require a RADAR key.

The lighting is nice and bright, the toilets are nice and clean and safe to use.

Restaurant

The restaurant is wheelchair accessible.

They serve food from 10am until 9pm.

They don’t offer a largerprint menu or a braille menu for the visually impaired. Nor do they offer a hearing loop for the deaf.

They allow guide dogs and all other service dogs into the building.

Ski

For wheelchair users they offer tubing sessions, with a fully qualified instructor.

They also offer a Disabled Ski Club! This is held once a month, for disabled users and people with minor disabilities. They ask for a fee of £5 towards this.

Unfortunately they don’t offer any snowboarding facilities for the disabled.

They have a changing room for disabled visitors located next to the disabled toilet.

 

Accessibility Rating

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Slimbridge Wetland Centre – original

Slimbridge Wetland Centre – original

29th March 2017

Slimbridge is a fantastic day out for all families.

It is home to over 30,000 wild birds.

There is lots of exploring to do and so much fun for little children.

Most of the park is wheelchair accessible, with good paths. However, some of the hides and walkways are inaccessible.

You can use an electric or manual wheelchair. The park offers manual wheelchairs to hire, at no cost.

You can hire an electric buggy, for a small charge of £5. You need to call in advance and book the buggy.

They are due to make the summer walkway accessible and some of the inaccessible hides will be getting a face- lift.

There is an outdoor theatre coming soon and also an app for your smartphone to use, whilst walking around the park.

My only bit of advice for anyone who is able bodied, bring wellies!

The staff were all extremely helpful, friendly and well mannered. Jackie took the time out of her day to answer our questions. Jackie was extremely helpful and showed a lot of support towards my project.

There are plenty of disabled parking spaces located in the car park and a disabled toilet, too.

There is a ramp leading up to the entrance of the venue.

Before entering the venue you have to disinfect your feet or wheels of your wheelchair.

There is a mat and wheel wash provided.

There is a large double automatic door leading into the venue, with a button for disabled users to press, which will open this door.

In the reception area there is a lowered section of the desk for wheelchair users.

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Once inside you can go and collect bird food from the volunteers stand and also collect your tokens to access the Viewing Platform.

Start of the adventure.

There is a lift which will take you up to the Platform.

This is accessible for wheelchair users, it is not large enough to turn a wheelchair around in safely but there is room for a PA or family member to assist a wheelchair user.

The lift has easy to reach buttons but the light within the lift is quite dim.

The Viewing Platform gives you a 360 degree panoramic view of the Wetlands. I had no trouble viewing this using my electric wheelchair.

There is a large ramp leading from the main reception down to where the attractions start.

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The Toad Hall, is a fantastic little area where you can view toads. There are toys, games and a soft play area. They also do handling sessions and talks on the toads.

Outside

Once outside you walk over a bridge taking you to try and spot all the different birds.

Along the walk you will come to a part called the Wader Shore, this has slight rough gravel so a little bumpy for the electric wheelchair.

There are flat footpaths leading all around the park which makes it really accessible for wheelchair users.

The South Lake Discovery hide is absolutely fantastic for wheelchair users, there are lots of low windows for you to be able to look outside and see all of the wild birds.

If suitable for you, they have binoculars so you can have a closer look at the birds.

This is definitely the best hide for wheelchair accessibility.

Along the walk you will come across a few gates, these are fairly easy to use by lifting the latch and pushing the gate. This is quite difficult to do if you are in a wheelchair so the help of a PA or family member will be needed.

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We came across the Otter pool which was a nice surprise, there is great flat decking all around the pool so you can get a really good view of the otters.

There is a cave that will take you through to see the otters swimming underneath the water.

The Flamingo Lagoon has a fantastic accessible hide, which gives you a great view of the flamingos and the lagoon.

 

We decided to have a look inside the Tropical House.

You must disinfect your wheels and shoes before entering.

The floor inside is extremely bumpy and uneven but completely accessible and definitely worth a look inside.

We stopped off at the Kiosk, not far from the Chilean Flamingo’s. There are disabled toilets located by the Kiosk and tables for you to sit at to have your snack. However, you cannot fit a wheelchair under any of the benches by the Kiosk.

Not far from the Kiosk is the Kingfisher hide, we were advised that this is wheelchair accessible but we didn’t make it that far to have a look.

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We then headed back towards the main reception. There is another tower called the Holden Tower, however, this is inaccessible for wheelchair users.

There are two places to eat within the venue. The Swan Café located upstairs in the main reception and the main restaurant downstairs.

In the main restaurant the seating plan is open with lots of long tables, easily accessible for wheelchair users. There are lots of open windows so the lighting is extremely good within the restaurant.

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There is a little gift shop as you exit the park which is filled with lots of nice gifts and souvenirs if you wish to purchase them.

You exit the park through the gift shop which will take you straight back to the car park.

You will need to disinfect your wheels and shoes before leaving the attraction, wheel wash and disinfectant mat is provided.

Accessibility Rating