Euan’s Guide - 7 years on
Our charity started life 7 years ago with the launch of this very review website. Since then we’ve grown tremendously to become the UK’s most used disabled access review website. With thousands of disabled people leaving honest reviews on the website rating how accessible different places are across the UK and beyond.
Our mission is to make the world more accessible and we firmly believe reviews have the power to do exactly that! Not only do they help people save time by making it easier to find new accessible places to visit, but they are also a great way to give feedback to venues, so they know how they can improve.
While we won’t be having a cake to celebrate this year, we can look back fondly at some of our brilliant achievements and happy memories from over the last 7 years. So sit back and enjoy reading our rundown of 7 things our team are particularly proud of:
1. We achieve more together
Where would we be without you? Euan’s Guide has only been successful thanks to all the people like you who have shared your experiences by leaving reviews on the website and recommending the places that you enjoy visiting. Hearing someone else enjoyed their visit – particularly if they have similar access requirements – makes us feel so much more confident visiting.
Internally, working together is one of our main cornerstones and we know that so much of what we achieve wouldn’t have been possible without the willing collaboration of Ambassadors, team members and our users.
Speaking specifically about our Ambassadors, Laura our Ambassador Network Manager said:
“Since forming the Ambassador Network in 2017, we have brought together a fantastic community of reviewers and developed a network who share our desire to promote disabled access. We have achieved so much through our Ambassador Network with many Ambassadors being key reviewers, the events we have held with Ambassadors, the events Ambassadors have represented us at and the support and feedback we receive from Ambassadors on our projects and plans. Our Ambassadors have created a network that is built on support, friendship and a passion for accessibility and are a core element of Euan's Guide.”
Image of: Euan's Guide Ambassador Gary next to Paul watching golfers from a path at St. Andrews
2. Connecting with our users
We love being user focussed! Your opinion matters to us, whether it is reading your latest review or listening to your feedback and finding ways to improve what we do.
“The great thing about my role is that I get to talk to other people who already use the website and people that have just heard of us and want to find out more,” agreed Zoe, a Reviewer Engagement and Outreach Co-ordinator.
“So many disabled people have their own stories of times where they have had to spend far too long researching before visiting somewhere new. Or where they have experienced the avoidable sadness and frustration that comes with only finding out when you arrive that the venue is inaccessible. When we hear that the reviews shared on Euan’s Guide help solve these problems it really does make our day.”
Here are just a few of your comments that have stuck with us over the years:
- “As a powerchair user, wheelchair access is very important to me. It was amazing when I found Euan’s Guide. The reviews are so helpful when deciding where to go."
- "At last, I can look forward to looking in Euan’s Guide and finding out if the place I want to visit does have an accessible loo, I can get in the building, and will have people happy to help me."
- "It’s a great idea and much needed. I want to read about places from people who understand the problems."
3. Having a unique purpose
Our users and supporters sometimes compare us to other review websites. In fact, Author Ian Rankin once said: “Think of [Euan’s Guide] as TripAdvisor - with wheels on!"
We welcome these comparisons as it is a great way of quickly understanding our review website and it can help to demonstrate the power reviews have. But we also know that there are lots of things that set us apart!
As Abby, our Communications Manager, explains:
“Disabled people are at the heart of everything we do. From the disabled people who write reviews and use our website, to disabled colleagues in our team.
“The format of our reviews has been specifically designed to make it easy to find information that is going to be useful to anyone interested in finding out about that place’s disabled access. And equally, the information we ask venues to share is all about what they offer in terms of their accessibility. It means Euan’s Guide can be used on the move or for last minute trips, instead of having to search through long access documents or scroll through loads of generic reviews.”
4. Improving over time
Thanks to our technical expertise and the support of our website developers, Intelligent Mobile, it has become easier over time for people to leave reviews and navigate our website.
As a charity, we certainly don’t have the budgets of many websites, but we are proud to say we design with accessibility and ease of use at the forefront of everything we do.
Steve, our Moderation Manager said:
“Since we started in 2013 the review process has been made quicker and more streamlined with less things that need to be filled in. We have also changed the way images are uploaded to the website, making it more straightforward than ever before. It's always great to get positive feedback from reviewers about this.”
Image of: A Euan's Guide window sticker
5. Part of a wider change
While we love shouting about places that care about their accessibility and where people have had great experiences, we know that there are still lots of improvements that could be made. In fact, 2020 has in many ways highlighted how far there still is to go to making a more inclusive environment for everyone and stop disabled access being an afterthought or oversight.
We are however extremely pleased to hear whenever venues have improved on the back of reviews they have received. We’re also proud to provide support for venues looking to improve their disabled access.
As our Co-founder Euan explains:
“The vast majority of our reviews are positive – either 4 or 5 stars. User reviews should be seen as a positive opportunity to learn more about your venue, and that’s increasingly what we’ve seen. Small changes that venues make as a result of user feedback often make an enormous difference. Minor improvements to signage, seating layout, website, staff training or physical infrastructure have all been things recommended by Euan's Guide reviewers. All these things help increase visitor numbers - so it's not just our reviewers who benefit from these improvements, it’s the venues too. It makes the world more accessible bit by bit.”
6. Taking things offline
Euan’s Guide started out online, but over time some of our actions have moved offline as part of our ongoing effort to improve disabled access.
One of the major benefits of being a small charity is how quickly we can react, creating practical solutions to problems we are faced with. Like when we regularly heard about tied up red emergency cords across the county and developed our Red Cord Cards in response. Or earlier this year when people told us how nervous they were about going out without a face covering and we developed our Face Mask Exempt badges for exempt disabled people in response.
Euan's Guide takes a pan impairment approach to disability and this knowledge helped us to create a series of themed guides for disabled people visiting Scotland. We looked at Castles and Battlefields, Dundee and Angus, and Fife where we highlighted the great accessible places to visit.
Paul, our Access and Inclusion Director, says, "Often accessibility is not about undertaking big expensive projects but thinking about what you can do for disabled visitors. Small steps can make an enormous difference. A warm welcome is always a great start!"
Image of: Euan's Guide team holding Red Cord Cards
7. Crossing borders
Another thing we are proud of is the spread of reviews, not only do they cover places across the UK, but also further afield. We were delighted when people started leaving reviews from places they visit on their holidays and we now have over 60 countries on the website!
"While we might not be considering travelling outside our local area right now, it is fantastic that people use Euan's Guide as a trusted source of inspiration and information to plan accessible trips. Crucially, sharing their experiences through Euan's Guide makes travel and adventure not only possible but enjoyable for thousands of people," said Moira Tasker, Managing Director (maternity cover).
We can’t wait to see where the next seven years take us!