Published: 16:00, 26 August 2020
| Updated: 18:35, 26 August 2020
A young woman left paralysed while working abroad is calling on her MP to help ensure every Deal restaurant owns a disability ramp.
Hayley Bray, 27, spoke exclusively to KentOnline last week for the first time since she was struck down with the ADEM virus which has inhibited movement from her chest down.
Hayley speaking to Phil Welbrook from KMTV
The former Dover Grammar School for Girls pupil highlighted the difficulties she has encountered going out into community settings in her wheelchair.
Common issues include low table heights which can't accommodate her wheelchair and a general lack of disabled toilets.
But one continuing area of frustration, she said, are steps into buildings, with many establishments not owning portable ramps.
Only last week was the former nursery worker carried into one local venue after staff were unable to locate a device.
She has now decided to launch her plight with the help of MP Natalie Elphicke who has agreed to a meeting.
Miss Bray said: "I find with a lot of pubs and restaurants, there’s no way I can get in.
"There’ll sometimes be a step at the entrance, and there won’t be a ramp.
"I don't think people realise that it's an issue. I will admit that I didn't think about it until I wasn't able bodied.
"It's not until you're in this situation that you realise how bad it is.
"I'm not saying that I want them to build anything but I feel like a ramp is the very least they could do. It is UK law to have access."
She spent a further eight months in various hospitals where she's had to learn to speak, read and write again.
She now lives independently with support from carers and spends £1000 a week on rehabilitation.
She said: "You don't see many people in Deal in wheelchairs. I don't think that's because there aren't people who rely on them but because they know access is so poor.
"Pubs and restaurants are closing themselves off to so many people."
Mrs Elphicke has yet to respond to our request for a comment.
Alison Kerry from disability charity Scope said:“The lack of access to our high streets for all people with disabilities is simply not good enough.
“We already knew before the coronavirus pandemic hit that access on our high streets was really rather poor.
“Unfortunately as things have opened up again for most communities, for a lot of disabled people, they still face being locked out of their own communities and their high streets.”