menus for direct access - braille

Nantwich disability access firm Direct Access has launched a campaign to make Nantwich home to the most inclusive cafés, pubs, and restaurants in the UK.

It wants to see all the town’s eateries provide Braille and Large Print accessible menus in their home town.

The goal of its “Accessible Menu” campaign is to increase accessibility for visually impaired and elderly locals, as well as attract other disabled tourists to the town known for its culinary scene.

The campaign is being led by Direct Access founder Steven Mifsud MBE and Nantwich Town Disability FC captain Craig Acton.

Craig, who is visually impaired, has been hand-delivering accessible menus to participating restaurants.

He said his experience of not being able to read menus made sit-down dining in the town an “uncomfortable and inaccessible” experience.

Direct Access is producing menus in-house. Changes to menus will include increased font sizes, colour contrast, simplification of information, and improved formatting.

Braille menus will also be provided.

Several pubs and restaurants have already signed up to the scheme, including Nantwich Book Shop and Coffee Lounge, the Wilbraham Arms, Pepper Street Fryer, Charlie + Co, the Hive, and 34 Pepper Street.

Denise Lawson, owner of Nantwich Book Shop and Coffee Lounge, said: “As a business owner who provides food and drinks, we have always tried to assist people who need additional help with ordering.

“When the opportunity came for us to be more accessible, we were keen and excited to be a part of the new initiative.

“We look forward to being able to provide large print and braille menus to our customers and being a part of this fantastic venture.”

Steven Mifsud believes most establishments serving sit-down food are missing out on clientele.

“If a restaurant doesn’t provide menus in accessible formats, they risk losing the interest of not only visually impaired communities, but elderly people, young people, as well as physically and cognitively disabled people.

“These communities want to dine out, but nobody wants to face the social embarrassment of requiring menus read aloud to them, it’s dehumanising.

“Convenience is everything in the food industry. We believe that these menus can benefit everybody, including restaurant and pub owners themselves.

“There is also a huge social and financial benefit to becoming accessible, not only will disabled people attend their establishments but they will also bring family and friends along with them.

“Let’s not also forget that the power of social media, disabled people can bring some positive PR and exposure if they get a good service.

“It’s a win for everyone. If this campaign is successful and is already showing to be, we will go national and then global.”

It is currently estimated there are more than two million people in the UK who live with vision loss.

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