Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Disabledgo Disappears

To start the year I wrote a letter to my local paper the Brighton Argus about blind people and pedestrian crossings. I was glad to see it published as a lead letter on 12 January 2007. This is part of my never-ending campaign to improve access in all areas of life. Also published on that day was an alarming letter about the difficulty disabled people had trying to arrange a visit to Brighton. In particular they highlighted the disappearance of any reference to Brighton & Hove on the DisabledGo website. This is the first I heard about this omission. This stirred me into action within DAAG (Disabled Access Advisory Group) and led to an article published on Monday 22 January 2007. DisabledGo is a national charity whose main function is to encourage better access to places in the public and private domain such as Council offices, Transport facilities, shops, restaurants and hotels. The main mechanism for achieving this is the gathering of information about accessibility in various UK cities and putting all of this on the DisabledGo website. I was involved at an early stage in the creation of DisabledGo and attended its national launch at the Marks & Spencers branch in Oxford Street, London. I am personally well acquainted with DisabledGo's founder Dr Gregory Burke. Further, I attended the launch of DisbledGo's work in Brighton at the Marks & Spencers branch in Western Road, Brighton (M&S have given great support to DisabledGo). This launch was of course supported by Brighton & Hove City Council. We were all please about that. Thus it is sad the Council has seen fit to end the DisabledGo relationship. I am seeking to have this decision rescinded and to find out exactly what the Council is doing. We have to ferret out this information ! Luckily I am not alone so I am glad to see Councillor Roy Pennington's comments on the Council website. Cllr Pennington and I are raising the matter at the 5 February 2007 meeting of the Council's Equalities and Social Justice Forum. Tim Williamson, who is an active member of DAAG and also a Trustee of the Brighton and Hove Federation of Disabled People, is also assisting in finding out exactly what has been going on.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I was not aware of DisabledGo being a national charity, they don't appear to be listed on the Charity Commission website. Why not look at the Nationwide Access Register www.directenquiries.com which is run in partnership with RADAR and the Employers' Forum on Disability. This is a growing online search service that I have found very useful.


29 January, 2007 09:57  
Blogger Colin B. Bennett said...

The reader of my blog is correct when they say that Disabled Go is not a charity. I took a chance and guessed that it was! Sorry.

I have received this information from Dr Gregory Burke, Head of Disabled Go. I think it is quite compelling. Further comments are welcome.

Firstly DisabledGo is not a charity but we are a social enterprise which means we devote a minimum of 90% of our profits back to the benefit of the people we wish to serve and historically it has been 100%.

Secondly, there are other websites that purport to offer our service but we are the only ones who
a) visit every venue in person;
b) directly undertake community consultations so that the local community is in charge of what we deliver;
c) establish steering groups of local disabled people who have strong input into how the guide is shaped
- ie
suggestions for further development, recommendatations for future venues
to cover;
d) have a consistent and standardised approach to research so that once you get used to using your guide in Brighton, you can use it in Aberdeen, Belfast, Liverpool, Torbay, Canterbury etc because we have standardised methodological approach.

One final point, in every local authority area that has had a tender, DisabledGo has been preferred to Direct Enquiries for those obvious reasons.

In regard to high profile endorsements, we have over 200 endorsements from groups of and for disabled people. However we do not and will not pay for high profile third party endorsements as other websites do.

29 January, 2007 18:44  

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