Kelvin Shepherd from Mid-Glamorgan was so concerned about what he called the ‘access failings’ of a Birmingham cinema that he decided to take action.
Kelvin, who walks with a stick, was shocked into action after nearly falling and seriously injuring himself during a weekend trip to the cinema with his grandchildren. Kelvin said, "The cinema lacked any floor lighting, making it very difficult to see the stairs. It was only a matter of time before someone got seriously hurt."
Kelvin added: "I was determined that no-one should have to go through a similar situation, so after chatting my options over with friends, I decided to tackle the issue head on by writing to the cinema directly about my concerns."
Kelvin received a really positive reaction from the cinema who immediately took steps to improve things. Within weeks they had improved the lighting in all of their screens and even adjusted cinema times at the venue so that those films that are shown on screens upstairs are repeated downstairs a short while later.
These were all things that the local cinema could change directly with little involvement from head office, but Kelvin knew that if they were to have a lasting effect they would need to be promoted widely so that people would get to know about the changes and revisit the cinema to see the improvements for themselves. Kelvin thought that this information could be promoted on the chain's website, allowing customers to make an informed decision about which cinema would best suit their access requirements, as well as encouraging other cinemas in the chain to take a lead on disability issues. Kelvin knew that this wasn’t a decision the local cinema could make on its own, and so decided to write to the chain’s Chief Executive to see what could be done. The CEO agreed to consider including this information on the firm’s website in future. In the meantime, work is now underway to move the box office downstairs so that visitors could easily be provided with access information about that and other cinemas in the area.