The BBC broadcaster Andrew Marr had a stroke in January and has said that he now feels more aware of people with disabilities than he did before it.
The realisation that hit Marr, in many ways, reflects the words often used by campaigners: "Support the disabled and sick now because one day that might be you." True humanity comes from supporting the disabled or sick, even if it is never going to be you.But just what is meant by ‘supporting the disabled’?
Disability groups, including former mayor councillor Mary Heathcote, who is registered blind, and Theo Harris, chief executive of Kingston Centre for Independent Living, accused developers of failing to listen to their advice before the centre opened.
Their report, to be discussed tonight at a health overview scrutiny committee, claims the centre has poor signage for visually impaired people, corridors too narrow for more than one wheelchair to pass through, no tactile paving to direct blind patients, and a lack of hoists.Oh dear. And all those things are statutory access requirements, are they?
Ms Theron said the partnership had taken “great pains” to make sure the building surpassed statutory access requirements, so that everyone could make use of the centre “no matter what their disability”.
She said corridors were 1,500m wide instead of the statutory 1,200m and that landscaping outside the building “is in contrasting colours and textures and clearly delineated”.
She also cited a recent report by Kingston Council surveyor Steve Wilson, which said the centre went beyond minimum building standards, although the report said the centre was not “incapable of improvement”.So, they’ve done better than actually required to do by law, and yet are still catching grief for it from activists?