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Peartree House an Excellent Centre

May 12, 2005 6:00 PM
Peartree House

Peartree House

David Goodall reports: Peartree House is a centre which is dedicated to rehabilitating younger people with an acquired brain injury. The residents of Peartree House took a keen interest in the general election and particular matters relating to disability and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). After the election they invited all the Southampton Itchen candidates to the centre to see it and their work on the DDA.

So in May 2005 after the election I took up this invite and along with the Mayor of Southampton but alas not the other candidates. I was given a very good presentation on some of the real practical difficulties disabled people face on just a straight forward trip to a shopping centre in Southampton. Their experience highlighted a number of issues :-

  • Too few automatic doors
  • Badly positioned baskets and crowded aisles
  • Inaccessible areas of the shop due to there being no lift
  • Shortened emergency cord in the toilet

In my opinion the DDA is an act which will help to increase access to public areas, however like most anti-discrimination legislation the obligation not to discriminate is in most cases a negative one: i.e. it is unlawful to discriminate, but there is no obligation to promote equality. In the case of the shopping centre an obligation to promote equality would mean engaging with local groups, like the residents of Peartree House so as to understand their needs and check that the shopping centre can meet them. It is only by real dialogue with community groups that the needs of disabled people can met and this is more than the rather minimal requirements in the DDA.

After the presentation by the residents on the DDA we were given tour of the centre, from this it was clear that Peartree House is a excellent centre which succeeds to providing first class hospital care whilst at the same time providing a warm loving home environment. It has therapists which cover the following disciplines Psychology, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Psychotherapy, Rehabilitation Medicine, Speech and Language Therapy, and Activities Organiser.

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