Friday, July 17, 2009

Access All Areas

Yesterday the kids and I went to see the Kingdom of Paramithi - a kids show at our local RSL. Emma and Audrey really enjoyed it, Ashlea not so much (picture a hysterical screaming child saying 'bye-bye' to indicate she didn't want to be there).

Anyway, I thought as part of this blog I could provide a little community service - an accessibility rating for venues we have been to.

So, yesterday we went to Castle Hill RSL. To start with, there was plenty of disabled parking, and from there a wide sloping path up to the entrance. It wasn't too hard to push a pram up the slope, but it may have been more difficult if you were self-propelling a wheelchair (although I am sure the ramp is the corrrect gradient so maybe I am just unfit???). Once inside it wasn't too hard to find the lift up to the next floor. From there we had to find another lift up to the next floor, but all in all very accessible. Those 2 lifts give you access to the whole club except for the auditorium.

We stopped to visit the disabled toilets on the way and they get a big plus for size. Very easy to get a pram or wheelchair in the door and plenty of room inside. Also very clean. The only potential difficulty is that the door was a little hard to close - and that was when I was pulling it from a standing position - could be harder if you were sitting in a wheelchair. On the whole though, definitely one of the best, if not the best disabled toilet we have visited so far.

The last leg of our journey was a little trickier. To get into the auditorium we had to go up one of those stair-climber-thingies (not sure what the technical term is). It was a platform that I had to wheel the pram onto, and then a staff member operated it, and it "glided" up the short flight of stairs. At this point I must say that the staff were fantastic and very helpful. But I found the whole stair-climbing experience a little difficult. It just made us so conspicuous. Everyone else was streaming up the stairs, watching us get on and off this stair climbing thing. The other thing was that we had to get a staff member to operate it for us - which wasn't too bad for us with a pram, but if you were an adult with a disability it would take away a little of your independence to have to ask a staff member for assistance.

All in all it was a very accessible venue with helpful staff and great disabled toilets. The only thing is that the stair climber is really a little undignified. It gives others the opportunity to stare and notice that there is a difference, and you can't operate it without assistance from a staff member.

Overall rating: 4 stars

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