I am pleased to hear that our Ambassador, Anne Wafula-Strike MBE, finally has some financial redress, almost a year on from the embarrassment and indignity endured when forced to wet herself on a train. Whilst a financial settlement is welcomed, rail companies and all organisations and venues must use this disgraceful episode as a catalyst for massive change.
It is alarming to read that over 50 per cent of disabled passengers who use rail services are not even aware that assisted travel service is available, and not all trains yet have basic facilities to enable the disabled to use the toilet. In our own YouGov research last year, 72 per cent of the population were concerned that many of the UK’s top tourist attractions do not come up to scratch on general disability access.
Anne’s experience represented a failure to make ‘reasonable adjustment’, to take care of her individual needs. I know Anne personally, and I know she has been energetic in driving this campaign for the benefit of the millions of other people in the UK affected by poor accessibility and a lack of disabled facilities. The government and the train companies have thankfully responded positively to Anne’s demands for action, and a public consultation is now complete. That is a great achievement of Anne’s and she should be applauded for this real success. We watch with keen interest to see how the government’s findings are implemented and monitored next year.
Ted Hill MBE
CEO, The British Polio Fellowship