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Gospels display 'discriminates against disabled'
DISABILITY campaigners say they are suffering discrimination from the organisers of the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition.
Disabled motorists with blue badges have been banned from parking on Durham City’s Palace Green during the continuing three-month display.
Further, the lift in Palace Green Library, which is hosting the event, is broken, limiting disabled access to an interactive display in the first floor Wolfson Gallery.
Diana Sanderson, of Durham City Access for All, said: “I’m frustrated and disappointed.
“All the staff are delightful, charming and helpful and it’s a wonderful exhibition.
“But it hasn’t been properly thought out and there’s been no consultation.
“I believe if we were any other minority group there would have been consultation. But disability is always the poor relation.”
Mrs Sanderson, who lives in Durham City and has spina bifida, visited the exhibition last Friday (August 30) with her husband and two grandchildren.
She said she was “knackered” at having to walk to the library and struggled to climb the stairs.
Mrs Sanderson said disabled friends had endured similar difficulties. Durham City Access for All is now taking up the issue.
Keith Bartlett, programme director for Lindisfarne Gospels Durham, said parking on Palace Green had been restricted for the duration of the exhibition for the safety of visitors.
Limited space was available so the only vehicles allowed are the cathedral buses and blue badge holders and taxis dropping off passengers.
But he added: “Rest assured that if a visitor with access needs still finds these measures impossible, they can contact us in advance of a visit and we can address any concerns and questions.”
On the broken lift, Dr Bartlett said all paid-for exhibition areas were fully accessible but he sincerely regretted that it was out of order.
There had been numerous attempts to fix it, he continued, including an unsuccessful visit from the manufacturer.
“We are actively seeking a solution as we are very keen for people to see this (Wolfson) gallery and we are working with the lift engineers to rectify this as soon as possible.”
The Lindisfarne Gospels are in Durham until September 30. Visit lindisfarnegospels.com
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