Braille is on the menu for pub26 Medi 2007
Helping a pub put its menu into braille is among the changes a new company has brought about to help improve facilities for disabled people.
Richard Jones, who is a wheelchair user, has launched Accessible Wales to ensure places like cafes, shops and churches can be used by everyone. The 26-year-old from Aberdare is advising businesses in the Cynon Valley to make changes for the better. He says Hirwaun's Glancynon Inn is one of the few Welsh pubs using braille. Mr Jones, who has brittle bones, set up the consultancy business after campaigning for years for better awareness of disabled people and their rights. "I think most people with disabilities have experienced discrimination," said Mr Jones, whose company is based at Navigation House, Abercynon, and currently has two support staff.
"I have experienced discrimination with access issues. The biggest thing I've had was steps to get into a disabled toilet. "Most people (who run businesses) are aware of the Disability Discrimination Act but are not aware of what it means to individual people on the street or in a restaurant.
"Accessible Wales can audit premises and advise if they need to carry out changes."
Mr Jones has been fighting for disability rights ever since he and his parents had to campaign for him to attend his local secondary school. His company has been running since February but will officially launch on Wednesday at the Glancynon Inn. Following work with Mr Jones, the pub has added disabled toilets and parking bays, along with the menus for visually impaired people. Alun Evans, landlord of the pub, said: "My father was a wheelchair user and the number of places I could take him was limited.
"This is why I felt it was important to create a facility which was accessible to people with and without disabilities."
Accessible Wales has been commissioned by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to advise with regeneration work in Mountain Ash town centre. It is also helping the Cynon Valley Museum in Aberdare, along with the YMCA and Providence Baptist Church in Mountain Ash. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people face. But Mr Jones believes a lot of companies are still not complying with the legislation.
"I think it's an ignorance thing," he said.
"People don't realise that they don't need to go ripping up their buildings. It could simply be a case of widening a door.
"As a nation we should be positively encouraging people to make these changes.
"I hope it will improve the quality of life for disabled people. But I also think improving access would improve society in general - for parents with prams and older people, for example."