As a new recruit to the ALBOS team, I was delighted to be offered press tickets to an event my husband and I had always wanted to experience – the Stone Food & Drink Festival at Westbridge Park.
However, as a disabled couple any new experience brings worries about access & facilities. How far would we have to walk? What would the ground be like underfoot? Would there be adequate seating should our legs fail us? Would disabled toilets be (as they unfortunately so often are) an afterthought?
In the main, I’m delighted to say our fears were unfounded. On both Friday & Saturday we easily found a car parking space close to the entrance, with only Sunday, the busiest day, proving problematic. Though with a little lateral thinking we did eventually find a reasonably close space on Sunday too. There were plenty of people arriving on all three days, but the team at the entrance were efficient & we never had to queue.
Inside the park, we found that it was very accessible. The entrance was sloped but non-slip, and even though Saturday was a wash out, by Sunday morning there had been fresh straw put down to alleviate the worst of the mud & slipperiness. On all days there were plenty of seats available, though a non bar covered area would have been an idea for the rain on Saturday.
All the volunteers were helpful & friendly, providing seating for us quickly when legs decided to misbehave, and even offering a steadying arm in the slippy mud. The organisers of the talks & classes were also very accommodating.
The disabled toilet was kept very clean and was well equipped, no leg plaiting for us!
Overall our first experience of the Festival was very positive. For any less able visitors I would recommend the Friday as the best day to go, as a quieter experience with less crowds at the yummy food stalls, and a clearer run at the offerings in the vendors marquee. The organisers are to be commended on such an inclusive event.