By Simon Sansome
If there is one thing, I love in this world it is food. If you have seen a picture of me you will understand that I love food. One of the best events in the UK for food is the BBC Good Food Show which is accompanied by the BBC Gardening Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
I’ve been going for years as a journalist and as a customer, it is great fun. You get to meet the stars, you get to taste food and you get to see all the latest products.
But like many shows their success has become their downfall for disabled customers.
This year I will not be going which as a customer make me sad, but also as a journalist affects my income. It is not because I can not get there or can not hire a scooter for the event, it is because it has become so popular and is so overcrowded.
Being disabled I have no choice but to go in my scooter, but I simply can not get to the stalls. There is no crowd control and no assistance for people with disabilities, and no one will get out of way for people like me to get to the samples and stalls.
Every person there is craving the food samples, every person there is pushing and shoving trying to get a little bit of cheese on the end of a cocktail stick or the smallest pieces of sausage to see what they taste like. Making getting to the stalls trying to samples, watching the demonstrations or speaking to staff has simply become an impossibility because of the overcrowding and the popularity of the event.
I contacted Good Food Show last year to express my concern but they were not interested. For them it was more of getting people through the door.
What makes it worse is that you can hire scooters and wheelchairs at the event to get around. Only to realise you can not get to the stalls in a scooter or wheelchair because of overcrowding and you end up zig zagging around people not paying attention to you as they are fascinated about the food on offer.
Please, Please Good Food Show, can you set an example for rest of the food festivals in the UK? Please can you make it so disabled people can actually access the Good Food Show? After all, it’s all about good food and if a disabled person can not enjoy good quality food what can we enjoy?