Wheelchair users have no forum to swap knowledge, tips or ideas and no collective influence.
The disability movement has evolved in such a way that now there are many different interest groups representing many different disabilities. For example, there are MS interest groups or charities, or several charities representing people who have had spinal cord injuries, or bodies representing those with cerebral palsy etc etc. Added to this, because they are not all countrywide, each Australian state has its own organisations with their own relative importance and salience.
Only one organisation, People with Disability, could argue it represents the interests of ALL wheelchair users, regardless of their disability. But they promote the interests of everyone with any disability. What for example might a deaf person necessarily have in common with someone who can’t walk?
So, all in all, this is not an ideal situation for wheelchair users — they don’t have one forum in which they can provide access information to others in a similar situation (spreading access information is most commonly done through word-of-mouth).
We created the WheelEasy Access Information Website not only so that wheelies can share valuable and difficult to find access information, but also to give wheelies a voice for arguably the first time ever.
By people sharing what they know about access, and by giving relevant reviews on places where they see fit, they are going to be providing valuable information to other people who face similar challenges to them.
But more than this, in creating this website, we have come to realise just how potentially effective it could be in providing a collective voice for wheelchair users; one which could fbring badly needed influence; this website can be one which lobbies on behalf of a group which has a faint collective voice, promoting the benefits of greater inclusiveness.