The disabled son of a lesbian couple has launched a website to fight back against businesses that don’t provide sufficient access for wheelchair users.
Wheelchair-bound Nathan Popple, 14, has cerebral palsy and was so furious after being unable to enter and go down the steps of the Merrion Centre’s AMF Bowling alley in Leeds, that he created the Accessible Leeds website.
Nathan spends hours of his free time visiting shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in the UK city and rates them on his website according to how wheelchair friendly they are.
The ambassador of disabled children’s charity Whizz Kids says being denied access to places because of his disability makes him angry and sad.
He said: ‘It makes me feel less valued a person by those who create an able-bodied world and in turn, disable me.
‘Eventually I would like to make an Accessible England website and cover the whole country.
‘That might take some time though and my mums will definitely not let me have any time off school to do it!’
High street stores Jessops in The Headrow and American Apparel in Briggate are among the worst offenders.
Both failed to provide ramps or elevators.
While Marks and Spencer in Briggate was awarded top marks for its automatic doors, lifts and disabled toilet.
Nathan added: ‘I have had an amazing reaction from loads of other wheelchair users. They are all behind me and think it’s a great idea.’
His mum Beryl Sanderson and step-mum Sarah Carmody bought Nathan the website’s internet domain name for Christmas and are extremely proud of their son’s ‘incredible’ achievement.
‘He’s got so much energy and drive,’ said Carmody.
‘He grabs life with both hands and goes for it. He’s so determined and focused.
‘He hates injustice. You go down the street and people do stare at him. He’s done something positive, while others might get quite down about it.
‘He says he wants to be the first Prime Minister with cerebral palsy.’