Despite being one of the smallest Access Panels, Falkirk Area Disability Access Panel (FADAP) has worked very hard this year.
In March on Access Awareness Day, some members visited various businesses in town to award them with an Access Snapshot if they passed the criteria making them an accessible site for disabled people to use. We deliberately used a member in a powered chair, a manual chair and a member who was visually impaired and deaf. By doing this we felt that most disabilities were being considered. The results were posted on Euan’s Guide. Although the actual Awareness Day has passed, there arises still the opportunity to ask if the managers of sites such as the local Cineworld, would be willing to display one of the Snapshot certificates. Everyone who has been approached has been more than willing to take part.
A major undertaking was the Street Audit conducted with the aid of “Living Streets”. This involved the entire Panel examining the route from Grahamston Station to the Retail Park. The completed report was sent to local councillors and the various stakeholders for comment. At present we are about to hold a meeting of these stakeholders to see how far they are prepared to assist in improving this area.
As a direct result of this Access Audit, we have hosted a separate meeting with Mr Patrick Nyamurundira of Scotrail to address our concerns. An interesting matter arose concerning the fact that Scotrail refuse to accept electric chairs (as opposed to electric wheelchairs) on their trains. Apparently the crucial difference is the fact that the wheelchair has handles whereas the chair does not. This is a matter we mean to pursue as it is highly discriminatory.
Our secretary is busy working towards having our own PanelTown website as well as having a cloud storage system for all our documents. He has also devised our logo which we use on all letterheads. (see below)
As a result of badgering local councillors, several dropped kerbs have been improved as well as some doors in department stores and the issue of disabled toilets (or the lack of them) is an on-going problem which one member of the Panel monitors constantly.
A Panel member has been attending all meetings of the Falkirk Area Taxi Forum. She has been protesting at the sudden decline in the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis. It is hoped that her constant objections to the Council policy of allowing hybrid cars to replace wheelchair-accessible ones will, in the long run, produce some change.
Dial-a-Journey has been approached with regard to allowing “Shopmobility” to supply wheelchairs on loan at sites such as the Helix Park and the Falkirk Wheel. This is being seriously considered by Dial-a-Journey
A formal letter was sent by FADAP to our MP and MSP in support of the bill proposing that pavement parking be made illegal. It is highly likely that this bill will become law soon.
At every opportunity members of FADAP try to attend the training courses. Since we are so few in number, this is often difficult.
In a year fraught with procedural difficulties with which we have had to deal, I am pleased to report that FADAP has accomplished quite a lot.