Let's discuss increased accessibility
As human beings, we often tend to focus on the negative news that surrounds us.
As a disabled blogger and active wheelchair user myself, I have been shielding from the coronavirus pandemic since the very start. Whilst I pride myself on being a very upbeat and positive influence online, even I can admit that this past year has been a struggle. If I hear the words “Zoom quiz” one more time, I think I might just cry!
However, despite COVID ruining our entire social lives, I think it’s important for us to take a step back and reflect on some of the positive changes that have come out of this pandemic.
As a proper Cornishman, I was most excited when I discovered my local bakery now sends pasties by post!
Keeping yourself social is the key to maintaining your calm during these tough times. Whether it’s a group chat with your family or a socially distanced meet-up with your friends — keeping in contact is so important right now.
As much as I joke about the dreaded Zoom quizzes, how great has technology been during this pandemic?! Not only has it enabled many people to work from home, but it has also provided us with hours of entertainment with our loved ones.
If lockdown has taught me anything, it’s that my sense of humour is quite dark. As well as enjoying many crime documentaries, I have also taken part in several online Murder Mysteries, which have been great fun!
One thing that has surprised me most throughout this pandemic is how certain businesses have made adjustments, which have favoured those with disabilities. As a full-time wheelchair user, I can only talk from a physical point of view — but even I have noticed positive changes in certain areas.
One of the most common examples of this is from food outlets. Many restaurants that may not have been accessible in the past — for example, due to a lack of level access or toilet facilities such as Changing Places — are now offering takeaway/home delivery services. In certain areas of hospitality, the UK government has also enforced table service, which continues to benefit those with mobility issues.
As a proper Cornishman, I was most excited when I discovered my local bakery now sends pasties by post! Dreams really can come true, guys. GET IN MY BELLY!!!
Although I am frustrated that it has taken a worldwide pandemic to implement these changes, I am hopeful that certain measures will remain in place once we return to “normal” —whatever that may be!
People with disabilities have been campaigning for better access to live events for years now.
I’m not going to lie; I’m quite fond of this new two-metre rule. Whilst I miss hugs from certain loved ones, there are other individuals from whom I am more than happy to keep my distance.
From a young age, I have always hated crowds, as it can be very daunting as a wheelchair user. Most recently, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw images online of the first “socially distanced” music festival.
People with disabilities have been campaigning for better access to live events for years now. In the past, outdoor festivals such as this can be difficult to manoeuvre as a wheelchair user — not only because of the vast amount of people but due to the poor terrain and general littering on the ground.
I once went to a festival in Cornwall where the mud was so deep it took six people to help me & my wheelchair get back to the car — good times!!
Raised platforms have not always been available, either — hence why it’s so nice to see clear boundaries at these new events.
Whilst this year has been pretty horrendous for most, it is important to note that small changes like these can be positive.
I think we can all agree that it’s the little things in life that matter the most, especially under the current circumstances.
I recently asked my Instagram followers: “What are you most excited about for the future?”
Whilst I’m not sure what I was expecting in return, I was amazed at how simple the majority of answers were. The most common responses included “hugs” and “a night at the pub with friends.” This brought a real smile to my face, as it just proves that we don’t need extravagant plans or material things to make us happy anymore.
Don’t get me wrong; a trip to the Maldives would be lovely right now... but it’s just nice to see how our priorities have changed. Let’s continue to make the world a more inclusive place!