Access All Areas
About the campaign
We launched our Access All Areas campaign back in 2015 after hearing from countless guide dog owners about being refused access to public places because of their dog. This is almost always illegal. Under the Equality Act, guide dog and other assistance dog owners have the right to enter most services, premises and vehicles with their dog.
Our research shows that the most frequent places that guide dog owners are refused access to are minicabs, taxis, restaurants and shops. This is why we’ve been calling for the government to introduce Disability Equality Training for minicab and taxi drivers, to make them aware of the law and how better to support people with a visual impairment. We’ve been making similar calls in countries across the United Kingdom.
Why we're campaigning
- 75% of assistance dog owners we surveyed have been refused access to a restaurant, shop or taxi.
- In a one-year period, 42% of assistance dog owners were refused entry to a taxi or minicab because of their dog.
- 33% of assistance dog owners surveyed were refused entry to a minicab or taxi because the driver said they had an allergy, but didn't hold a valid medical exemption certificate as legally required.
- 20% of assistance dog owners surveyed said that a minicab or taxi arrived but the driver drove off without even speaking to them.
What we have achieved
- In 2016 hundreds of campaigners across the UK took to the streets to collect over 8,000 signatures for the Access All Areas petition as part of our Action for Access Day in May.
- In June 2016 over 100 guide dog owners attended a lobby of Parliament in Westminster to speak to MPs about how access refusals from shops, restaurants and taxis affect them on a daily basis. We handed the first Access All Areas petition, with 50,523 signatures, to the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP. Andrew Gwynne MP announced that he would introduce a Bill to make it a condition of taxi and minicab drivers' licences that they take part in disability equality training. Unfortunately, the Bill ran out of time to be debated.
- In 2017 A second petition was launched, calling on the Government to ensure that all taxi and minicab drivers take part in disability equality training to understand the rights and needs of disabled people. Another successful day of action in April saw campaigners collect over 10, 000 signatures for the petition! We also took the campaign to party conferences where politicians tried their luck at a shuffleboard.
- In April 2018 we handed over 46,000 signatures to Government, along with a box filled with stress cards to remind the Minister that 42% of guide dog owners face discrimination.
- We are continuing to work with licensing authorities to ensure that they adopt our disability equality training and that taxi and minicab drivers understand the rights and needs of disabled people.
- We recently had a big moment in our Access All Areas campaign where we held a mass lobby in Parliament on 19 June 2019. More than 90 guide dog owners attended, alongside over 240 MPs, to help build support for this vital campaign.
The following video shows highlights of our lobby day:
You can further help support the campaign by writing to your MP. We want people to ask the Government to commit to a date when they will introduce the requirement for disability equality training for all taxi and minicab drivers. The more MPs we reach, the greater the chance of change. Help us - write to your MP today.
You can always help us act on Access All Areas by signing up for campaigns updates.
We will then contact you via email with our latest campaign news and activity and how you can get involved. From signing petitions and sharing posts on social media, to writing to MPs; our campaigns community help us to drive change. Will you help us make a difference?
Each refusal is crushing, confidence shattering, rejecting, and traumatic. I always feel that I don't want to go out after - but work dictates I must.
Guide dog owner, Stevenage
Encourage the government to take action on access refusals.Write to your MP
Access Denied 2019 report
Learn more about the impact of access refusals on assistance dog owners in our up-to-date report.
We'd love to hear from you!
You can contact us using the details below, or by post at: Guide Dogs Campaigns Team, 20 Thanet Street, London WC1H 9QL