We went to the Bristol balloon festival recently. We set up our space 2 hours early. We were behind one other group who also had blankets and then there was a couple at the front sat in chairs.
We had a great view of where the balloons were going to be. This was on Ethans bucket list to go to the balloon festival and see the night glow.
About half an hour before it was due to start a couple arrived and stood right in front of the picnic blankets.
Soon people followed suit. The family in front of us stood which blocked all our views. After kindly asking them to move over a bit. They did and apologised.
Within 10 minutes we were surrounded by people standing up. Which resulted in our view in the picture above. We could no longer see anything at all.
Now me Steve and the kids could stand, Ethan and my mother in law who are both in wheelchairs couldn't stand so therefore couldn't see.
Not one of those people looked to check whether there was room for them to stand at the front, no regard for anyone who had set up early and certainly no thoughts about those in wheelchairs that cannot stand.
I want to encourage you to 'think wheelchair' wherever you are. Especially when you are watching performances of anything.
Tell your friends, teach your children. Spread the word to check where you are and allow those who can't move to be able to see and enjoy just like you can.
Now unfortunately this is not a one off situation. This happens wherever we go.
Being in a wheelchair or pushchair or anything that stops you from fully seeing what's going on around you is not unusual. There are lots of people who need different access to situations.
When was the last time you thought about what others can see when you're out watching something.
Maybe you're at a carnival, or a show. A talk at a zoo or just simply admiring the animals at an attraction.
Have you ever looked around you and wondered whether your actions or position affects anyone around you.
The answer is probably either never or not recently. This is my job to bring this to your attention. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we all were included. If we all had access to everything. I am starting a new campaign called "think wheelchair".
I want to encourage everyone to think whether a wheelchair user can access things around you.
Being in the wide world is not easy as it's not set up for wheelchair users. Why not help me spread the word and start to change to minds of those around us to thing of others before themselves.
Let's get everyone involved and allow everyone the chance to experience everything in a level appropriate for them.