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I can do that!: Make us welcome like everyone else.

Byline: SARAH CHAPMAN

ARTS and tourist venues are still not treating disabled visitors as valued customers, says learning disability charity Mencap.

More disability awareness training for front of house staff is one of key recommendations in Arts for All? --a report highlighting the practical and social obstacles facing families with a severely disabled child.

Mencap's report tells the personal stories of six families on days out to the theatre, zoo, theme park and popular tourist attractions,mirroring the experiences of many thousands of families with disabled children across the country.

A mother of a 16- year old severely disabled boy says: ``For me a family day out is not a fun experience, it is really hard work.

``I have to do so much planning and organising, and then go out knowing I will come across obstacles and have to make a huge effort to overcome them.''

Under Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which takes full effect in October 2004, venues will have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to physical features. But Mencap says it is a problem that stretches far beyond physical access.

Chief executive Jo Williams says: ``For many families with a severely disabl ed child, the prospect of a day out can be daunting.

``The cost, inconvenience and unhelpful attitudes from both the staff and the general public can turn what should be an enjoyable occasion into an endurance test.

``We urge managements to start treating these families as valued customers,not as a problem, and adopt the report's recommendations.''

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2003
Words:270
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