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01 Feb 2017

The accessible kitchen shortage in the UK

- Written by Ash Bath

An accessible kitchen is one that is designed specifically for a less abled or wheelchair user whilst at the same time being suitable for the other users in the household. In terms of its capabilities, everyone using the kitchen should be able to participate equally making the space suitable for everyone.

At the moment in the UK, there are over 10 million disabled people and yet there are still many living without an accessible kitchen. Small differences in the design of an accessible kitchen can make all the difference to someone in a wheelchair and the omission of these can leave them in a situation where the kitchen is of no use to them whatsoever. It can also be an unsafe place for less abled users and can lead them to carry out risky activities. Scalding is one of the worst injuries that can occur in the kitchen, so minimising these dangers are paramount.

The kitchen is usually the hub of the household and somewhere where people meet and chat. It is also where we prepare and cook our food, a core basic need. Why should the less abled be any less entitled to this basic necessity? Opportunities to improve planning law for the disabled in the UK occur pretty infrequently but this law is set to change. It will mean that local authorities and housing associations will have a specific legal duty under planning law to ensure they plan housing for disabled people, and will have to demonstrate how they have met this requirement. It is hard to believe in 2017 that we are still living in a society where these basic needs are not being met – we can only work towards improvement.

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