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  • Bright, Bold and Bling: Disability Products No Longer Need to be Grey! I'm back in the land of grey. But, as you can just see in the corner, my red shoes cheer things up a bit As soon as I figured out that I was going to be walking with a crutch in the long term, I knew I had to get one of my own. Because, while I'm forever grateful to the NHS for providing me with crutches in the first place, I quickly tired of how grey they were. So, thanks to eBay, my depressingly colourless mobility aid was replaced with a livelier, red one, and it felt much more me. A few weeks ago, however, my physio consigned the groovy red crutch to obscurity and, finding myself back in the grey land of epic greyness, I searched the web for alternatives. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are many more options for disabled and elderly people to find attractive mobility product options than ever before. This means that, just as we might express our personality and style through our clothes, bags and shoes, we can also extend that to our walking aids, equipment bags and other useful tools. Mobility aids can now be bright, colourful and stylish. I’m replacing my grey crutch with a far nicer turquoise one, and here are some other places you can get trendier, more attractive disability gear for yourself: Sticking with crutches for a moment, Chic Aid do a wide range of coloured designs available, in full- and half-crutch designs. So if you’re a bright pink, orange or lilac kind of person, you can brighten up your days with some more cheerful walking aids. If you are looking for a pair that features more than one colour, check out their designer Ellipse crutches, too. If you’re never happier than when you’re surrounded by sparkly bling, GlamSticks is a must-see. Every GlamStick they sell is hand-crafted, and you can either choose from the designs on the site, or commission a custom, bespoke crutch. The gleaming gems really stand out; these crutches and walking sticks are absolutely stunning. If you can’t get enough diamante in your life, or if you have a special occasion such as a wedding or big party, a GlamStick will certainly make you feel like a princess. Or indeed a prince, for they have a ‘punk’ design for men, too. Attractive disability-related products aren’t just for crutches and sticks, of course. Rollators are products that certainly could benefit from some cheering up, and the Rollz Motion has done exactly that. They come in orange, pale blue, white and purple, and their shape and contours are very different to what is normally available for this kind of product. And they don’t just look good, they have the features that disabled or elderly people would want, too, including the ability to be folded, cross doorsteps and curbs, height that can be adjusted, and easy manoeuvrability. Spokz allows wheelchair users to add stylish, attractive guards to their wheels. With a choice of ready-made designs, along with the option to use your own graphics, there really is something for everybody. For wheelchair-using kids, gloves are a great opportunity to introduce a bit of colour into the day. Kiddimoto Wheelchair Gloves are bright and fun, and they come in several designs for children to enjoy. Finally, something completely different. Amanda Keenan creates really beautiful, handmade catheter bag covers. Selling her products on Etsy as Ivysnotsoclinical, her designs range from Superman to pretty birds to vintage aeroplanes. Amanda explains that, after working in care, she was conscious that people with catheters or urostomies had their urine on show for all to see. So she invented her catheter bag covers to provide a bit of colour and dignity to people’s lives. Of course, at the Blue Badge Company we’re fans of bright, colourful disability accessories ourselves. Our Blue Badge Wallets come in dozens of colours and designs and are all available here. Read More...

  • No More Excuses! Accessible High Streets Benefit Everyone “Sometimes I visit restaurants and it seems like they want me out of the way…” “The disabled toilets are either used as storage cupboards, or non-existent…” “Very often I find that lifts are broken…” These are all quotes from people who took part in some research for Trailblazers, a group of young disabled people who tackle social issues. Trailblazers wanted to look at how accessible our high streets are, and whether businesses are doing the best they can to enable disabled customers to shop with them. What they found will, sadly, not come as a surprise to most disabled people. Their findings included the following, rather depressing, statistics: Over half of their respondents said that facilities regularly don’t have accessible toilets Over 2/3 had been unable to access parts of a venue because of broken or faulty equipment 1/3 felt they could not spontaneously travel to their town centre; instead they had to plan ahead 1/3 reported insufficient disabled parking 70% said there was not enough accessibility information on business websites 40% shop online because of a lack of access in their local towns. Given that 2/3 of respondents said that they make their decisions about where to go based on the disabled access, this really is something that businesses such as shops and restaurants should be taking seriously. Even if they don’t do it because it’s the law, or because it’s the right thing to do, there is no arguing that it makes good business sense! If a potential customer is unable to get into your store or your café, you will lose their custom and they will spend their money with a competitor instead. Because this is the thing: making business premises accessible doesn’t have to be a chore or something done reluctantly out of obligation. It can be a really positive, constructive move that will build great customer loyalty and invite yet more people to come into your establishment and buy your wares! So, what does ‘accessible’ mean? When talking about accessibility, many people focus on ramps and accessible toilets. These things are very important, of course, but accessibility does not begin and end there. There are other points that businesses with premises should take into account, and these can include: Providing menus in braille Making sure shop floors aren’t cluttered and difficult to navigate Installing a hearing aid loop system Making sure accessible loos aren’t full of cleaning equipment or excess stock Installing lifts, if buildings are on more than one floor Easy-to-open doors Leaving sufficient room between tables or shelves so that people can walk or wheel between them easily If you need to keep your accessible toilet locked, use a lock for RADAR keys Staff who have had some disability awareness training so they know how to treat people and how to help. The possibilities are almost endless, and this is what puts a lot of people off. They don’t know where to start, and they don’t feel they have enough information about what is needed. In this situation, approaching a local disability group, or hiring a disability access consultant can ensure that you get specialist advice on what is required and how you might go about it setting it all up. Everybody benefits from a more accessible world. It’s not just disabled people whose lives are made easier, but also the lives of elderly people, people who use prams or pushchairs, people with temporary injuries, and more. Businesses get new customers, everyone’s horizons are broadened, and the world’s a nicer place all round. And who doesn't want that? (Image credit: Tim Sheerman-Chase) Read More...