A disabled woman has criticised the organisers of a local festival for discriminating against her by forcing her to pay for insurance if she wishes her to take her mobility scooter with her.
Sharon Dawson, who lives in Lincoln, was looking forward to attending the Twinwood Festival in Bedfordshire in 2017, and was forward planning as she has recently been made disabled by a crippling illness. The insurance would be an added cost on top of the tickets expenditure, which cost £240 for the full festival.
Sharon feels that she, and others in a similar positon, are being penalised for being disabled and ‘treated like because I am differently abled that I am stupid and reckless’. She continued: “I thought this country had stopped the discrimination against the disabled. I was seriously shocked and offended when they told me I would have to pay out extra money, around £60, just to go to a festival, when able bodied people would not.”
She added: “Just stick me in a box and say I am not worthy of a life as that’s how I feel thanks to Twinwood Festival. What a good way to knock a person down.”
A spokeswoman for Scope, the national charity for disabled people, has condemned the event organisers: “”Event organisers should be looking at ways to improve access and open their doors to disabled consumers. Unfortunately, many disabled people continue to face negative attitudes – in the playground, in the street, and from employers. Scope research shows that for the most part, these negative perceptions of disability are caused by ignorance and that not enough people know or interact with disabled people.”
A spokesman for the festival said: “Twinwood Festival’s paramount concern is the safety of all our visitors. We have 5,000 pedestrians of all ages walking around the site every day, and we have a ‘no public vehicle movements’ on festival site rule. We have not banned mobility scooters, but as some of these can travel at up to eight miles per hour, we have requested that owners who wish to bring their mobility scooters to Twinwood Festival have insurance. This is to cover their own personal safety as well as other people’s safety.”
As a mobility scooter owner, have you encountered a similar situation in terms of discrimination at a public event? Do you agree or disagree with the festival organisers? Let us know your views in the Reply Box below.