If a child were chronically ill, you would still want them to be a child and play, laugh and, socialise, why do we not treat adults in the same way? When researching this section, I was told a story which I feel will resonate with many people.

A young girl in her 20s was living with a chronic illness and had been signed off work for three months whilst undergoing treatment. Having spent weeks going in and out of hospital for appointments, her boyfriend took her to the beach for the day for a change of scenery. Whilst there they ate ice cream and fish and chips, played on the slot machines on the pier and, most importantly, laughed until their sides hurt. The following day she received a call from the HR department of her company. She had been spotted having fun by one of her colleagues who was convinced that, because she was out of the house having fun, that this was evidence of a scam and that she was faking being ill. HR wanted confirmation from her doctor that she was still incapacitated.
— Anon

This story is far too common, with people not understanding that being ill does not equate to being a hermit. I realise that there are those who do abuse this trust but we mustn’t limit ourselves because of their selfishness. Laughing and socialising is an incredibly important part of recuperation, preventing isolation.

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There are a variety of schemes available to help you make the most of your time and limit the worries and concerns you may have about socialising outside the home.


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Rough Guide to Accessible Britain

A free, online guide including:

  • Over 200 inspiring ideas for worry-free days out
  • Reviews, hints and tips by disabled visitors
  • Grouped by 10 regional locations – featuring Olympic venues, scenic drives and towns
  • Accessibility information including disabled parking

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Euan’s Guide

Euan’s Guide is the disabled access review website that aims to ‘remove the fear of the unknown’ and inspire people to try new places. The website was founded in 2013 by brother and sister, Euan and Kiki MacDonald, after Euan became a powerchair user. After spending hours of their time making enquiries about access at places they wanted to go, the duo realised that they could not be alone in their search for disabled access information. This idea became Euan’s Guide, a digital charity that is helping to open up towns and cities to disabled people everywhere.


Concessionary rates

The Disabled Identification Card provides you with a form of identification to show your eligibility for concessionary rates at a variety of cinemas, theatres, and historical sites. Including

  • The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, regular priced tickets are £50 - 55, whereas a disabled person and carer, pay just £20 each
  •  Alton Towers theme park (as well as several others on the Merlin brand): full adult price around £28; a disabled person and up to two helpers, half price!
  • Kew Gardens: full adult price - £12.50; wheelchair users - £10.25; blind or partially sighted visitors - free, and carers – free
  • Edinburgh Dungeon: normal price - £11.95; disabled price - £8.95, helper goes free.

The CEA Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema


Festivals

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Yep festivals! Why shouldn’t you go bathing in mud and sleeping in soggy tents?! Many festivals offer free carer tickets and disabled access and parking may be available to be booked. The disability eligibility requirements vary between festivals. Most festivals now have viewing platforms with access ramps close to the main music stages.  Disabled toilets are usually located nearby. Some festivals offer camping for the disabled in a designated area.


Kids Pass

For £39.99 annual subscription or £3.99 monthly rolling subscription, Kids Pass is a family membership that entitles you to access thousands of family friendly offers across the UK. It includes savings at top theme parks, indoor/outdoor attractions, up to 40% off at cinemas nationwide (including adult/child tickets, seven days a week!) and "Kids Eat Free" at popular restaurant chains. Visit https://


Going to the beach

So many of us enjoy the pleasure of sitting on the beach and paddling in the sea. For wheelchair users this is often denied as you struggle to move through sand and stones - even with a helping hand! More resorts are addressing this problem with improved access, slopes, wheelchair friendly beach huts and more recently beach wheelchairs. They are often hired by the day - sometimes free of charge or for a nominal fee.  They may be provided by local councils or local disability groups. Visit Beach Wheelchair Hire for more information and availability.


Public Toilets

Disability Rights runs the National Key Scheme (NKS) for toilets for the disabled in the UK. Toilets fitted with NKS locks can be found all over the UK as they have been fitted in many locations including local authority toilets, toilets in shopping centres, bus and train stations. Get your own Radar Key here.