Louise Parry, SI Northwich
Emily Rose Yates -Travel for All; How to embrace Access and Inclusion for Disabled Travellers. The first speaker of Friday started with the stark statistic that in a Scope survey 66% of those surveyed said they would actively avoid disabled people.
For herself, at age 16 she was put forward for a trip to South Africa with a Charity JOLT with other young disabled people. This included having to get to the top of a high sand dune, and getting into cages in the sea, surrounded by sharks.
Emily started at University in 2012 and took the opportunity to go and study in Australia for 12 months. She met one other wheelchair user – but the girl didn’t want to know her, thinking that if she got involved with other disabled people that would make her look more disabled. Eventually they had a proper conversation about what Emily had done, and where she had been, leading to an enduring friendship.
Emily applied to be a Games maker at the 2012 Games and was allocated wheelchair fencing. She was asked to join a press conference, where she sat next to Seb Coe, who used her quote that the Paralympics lifted the cloud for disabled people. After the games, she told Seb Coe she wanted to go to Rio to make it more accessible for 2016, and he provided some contacts.
She was invited to Rio, and give a presentation about accessibility. One of attendees worked for MetroRio and invited Emily to work for them to increase accessibility. By 2016 they had managed to make 34 out of 36 Metro stations accessible to disabled people.
When she retumed home she tweeted Lonely Planet asking whether they had thought about doing an accessibility guide for Rio. They invited her to do so and she went back to Rio to produce one, which was launched at British House during 2016 Games.
When she asked about doing other guides the response was no, because only 20% of people are disabled!
As a result Emily set up her own company – Globe Hopper Guides, with her boyfriend.