The most accessible place I visit is Greenbank Sports Academy in Liverpool – this is a sporting venue used for a number of events and competitions. Outside, there are lots of accessible parking bays with wide spaces and moving room. There is an elevated bit of pavement designed to facilitate easy and comfortable access for wheelchair users and walking people in and out of taxis. Inside, there are a number of unisex individual accessible toilets, and there are also gendered toilets in which every cubicle is of ‘normal’ wheelchair accessible standard, as well as urinals at average and lowered height in the gents. There is a ‘changing places’ specification toilet with adult sized changing bench, tracking hoist and peninsular toilet with lots of room for assistants. There are a number of over-toilet frames available to choose from to provide different kinds of support for someone sitting on the toilet. The cafe has lots of circulation space, tables without cross-bars to get in the way of wheelchair users wheels or legs, and an electric height-adjustable table to provide a comfortable eating surface for anyone no matter the height of their chair.
At Greenbank is the only time my access needs are met anywhere near fully – I can park my big van and get out safely, I am not ‘desexed’ by being forced to use a unisex toilet when I don’t need to, there is a urinal I can access, there is the toilet with a hoist and bench for other toileting or changing needs, there is a table that adjusts to exactly the right height which maximises my ability to eat and drink in comfort. I feel like I am equal to anyone else using the venue, and as a consequence, I look forward to being there, am more likely to choose to attend and stay for longer after events, and spend more money in the cafe and bar.