A few weeks ago, Wave-length published Josh’s case study. The case study focuses on a young man who has had trouble getting past doormen at pubs and clubs because of his disability. Josh has been registered blind for around eight years and does not use a guide dog or white stick. Therefore he can trip up easily in new places, which leads doormen to believe that he is too drunk to enter the premises, and has even been accused of being on drugs on some occasions.
“Probably one of the worst experiences was at a nightclub in Birmingham where I was on a night out with a number of friends for a birthday. We had gone straight to the nightclub, all of my friends walked straight in and I walked through the door but tripped on a curb on the way in. I was then asked to speak to the doormen who said again that they had seen me trip and I was too drunk to enter the premises. I continued to show them my card which states that I was blind for this to be dismissed and asked to leave immediately. I then had to get a taxi back to Telford 45 minutes on my own feeling upset and angry at the fact that my disability had ruined my night. When actually the ignorance of the doormen to understand my disability had ruined my night.”
When Wave-length first came in contact with Josh we were simply shocked about the challenges, experiences and attitudes he had faced in trying to access ordinary social living. So we made contact with the SIA nationally (Security Industry Authority), which is a department of the Home Office, and informed them not just of Josh’s experience but some further research we had undertaken that evidenced that such experiences were in fact widespread. We had also discussed the provision of training for doorman with past Shrewsbury club owner Alan Bailey who also commented on the difficulties faced and that the level of training in this area was often inadequate. With interest from a senior manager in the Home Office, Ann Johnson met with him to discuss how things might be improved, as Josh states in his case study, much was to do with awareness and better training for security staff and it was proposed by us both that security staff should be asked to consider a real life experience, which will now be that of Josh, to respond on how they might have reacted in such a situation so that awareness begins to improve. Since publishing the case study, the SIA has confirmed that they will circulate the story around their awarding bodies so as to improve the awareness within training programmes. We were delighted to receive an email from Tony Holyland, Competency Manager at the SIA that read, ‘I think it’s very powerful, I would like to circulate it to the awarding bodies.’ We will of course be now looking to see what value comes from this change and how else Wave-length can work with the SIA to further improve access to clubs and bars for people with a disability.
Wave-length thought it was important to share Josh’s story to raise awareness of his disability and the problems he faces on a weekly basis. We understand the frustration Josh has felt towards some doormen who have sent him away, who may seem ignorant to his disability, but we also understand that these doormen may not have been trained to interact with people who have a disability or how to spot signs of a disability and support a person appropriately.
We thought by publishing this story it would make people, particularly business owners from all sectors, stop and think about disability and consider how they can prevent, what may be seen-as, discrimination towards a person with a disability.
We are happy that Josh’s story has been recognised and has got people talking. Our aim is to help support people with disabilities, and making other people and employers aware, so they can get the right training is a good place to start.
Have a look at Josh’s case study via this link. http://www.wave-length.org.uk/josh-shares-his-experience-of-nights-out-with-blindness/