I congratulate the Evening Press on yet another fine article highlighting the lack of access to shops and services in York.

It isn't only wheelchair users who face disabling barriers, however; these barriers are not always physical, we also face them in relation to employment. Official figures suggest there are at least ten million disabled people in Britain. Of these, wheelchair users such as myself are possibly the smallest group.

Having said that, there are at least 7,000 wheelchair users in York alone, so we are not a particularly small group.

The term "disabled people" also includes people who are blind or partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing, those with learning difficulties, users and survivors of the mental health system and a whole range of people with physical impairments.

The things we have in common are the barriers we face. These can be physical barriers, ones in the way things are organised or barriers because of people's attitudes.

A three-storey building without a lift is a physical barrier. When people arrange meetings without providing sign language interpretation, that is an organisational barrier. When non-disabled people treat us as if we can't do things, that is an attitudinal barrier.

All stop us taking part in society equally, no matter how they affect us.

Architects and planners are not taught to think about access, so buildings which exclude disabled people are still being built.

Information of all kinds is not provided in a way we understand - in Braille, on tape, or in clear language, and so on. So we are stopped from getting the advice and help we need yet non-disabled people can get it easily.

If all the barriers which face people with impairments were removed, we would no longer be disabled.

Lynn Jeffries,

Ashley Park Crescent,

Stockton Lane, York.

Updated: 10:52 Wednesday, April 27, 2005