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DMUK Baywatch Campaign

disabled parking

This is a guest blog written by Heidi Turner on behalf of DMUK for Disabled Living

DMUK’s Baywatch campaign, which looks into levels of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets, is changing format for 2020.

A common problem for many disabled motorists is not being able to park at their desired destination, especially at their local supermarket. The major complaint is that the disabled bays are all occupied with cars not displaying a Blue Badge.

baywatch campaign logo

Disabled Motoring UK’s Baywatch campaign seeks to address this. This campaign researches the level of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets, by asking disabled motorists to survey their local supermarket car park. Specifically, they count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge.

We launched this year’s campaign in March 2020 with a great response from supporting organisations and the campaign’s sponsor, the British Parking Association. DMUK is so pleased with the positive response it gets from its members, the public and organisations. Last year was our best campaign yet with record numbers of participants. However, this was before the world was swamped by the current Coronavirus pandemic. Even though many areas of the UK are seeing a decrease in infections and deaths from Coronavirus, and the government are easing lockdown restrictions, DMUK has decided that it is not appropriate to ask individuals to physically go to a supermarket car park and count cars not displaying a Blue Badge which are parked in disabled bays. This could put participants in a position where they find it harder to social distance and we would never ask people to put themselves at an increased risk of catching the virus.

Join our Survey

Instead we will be running a survey for the month of August which participants can complete without leaving their home. DMUK will ask individuals to think back over the last 12 months to consider their general parking experience and ask them to answer some questions about this experience at supermarkets and on their everyday journeys. We will use this data to tackle the supermarkets and other parking providers over their disabled parking policies. As a thank you for taking part there will also be an opportunity for one participant to win a £25 M&S voucher.

The survey will be printed in the August issue of Disabled Motoring and there will be an online version going live in August which can be accessed through the website: https://www.disabledmotoring.org/baywatch-2020

We hope that in August 2021 to have this pandemic long behind us and run our usual Baywatch Campaign.

The campaign has support from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, she commented: “It’s so sad that Disabled Motoring UK has to run its Baywatch Campaign. Disabled bay enforcement should be mandatory, especially for the big supermarkets that can afford to invest in policing their car parks. I see disabled parking abuse every day, it’s never a surprise to me, including at my local supermarket. There is a real lack of understanding about how essential these bays are to disabled people and I applaud DMUK’s Baywatch Campaign as it plays a vital role in highlighting the issue of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets.”

Heidi Turner, Communications and Campaigns Director at DMUK, said: “Baywatch is one of the charity’s longest running campaigns and is really important to draw attention to the parking problems that disabled people face when just trying to do their everyday grocery shopping. The charity has decided to change the format of Baywatch this year in order to keep our supporters safe. Nevertheless the new survey will provide us with some really useful data to keep the pressure on the supermarkets to do more to manage their disabled parking bays properly. Disabled motorists face parking problems in all aspects of their life and the new survey will also encompass some more general parking questions which will expand the scope of the DMUK Baywatch Campaign.”

DMUK Baywatch Appeal

In October 2019 DMUK launched its Baywatch Appeal as a way of raising additional funds to support the charity’s campaigning efforts. Since its launch the charity has raised an extra £5740.58 in added donations. Any extra money the charity can raise to support campaigning is so helpful. We understand that many people are under financial pressures at this time  and ideally the best thing that individuals can do is to fill in the Baywatch survey in August, but if you can help with a donation too that is very much appreciated. Donations can be made through our website www.disabledmotoring.org or by calling 01508 489449.

DMUK Baywatch Sponsor

DMUK has worked for many years with the British Parking Association (BPA) to improve parking for disabled motorists. The BPA sponsored the campaign in 2019 and is once again sponsoring it for 2020.

Kelvin Reynolds, British Parking Association, Director of Corporate and Public Affairs, said:  “We wholeheartedly support DMUK’s annual Baywatch campaign. With one in every five disabled parking bays being misused at supermarkets, this campaign is a great way to raise awareness of the importance of only using disabled bays if you are a Blue Badge holder. We encourage as many people as possible to participate in the survey.”

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