If the person you care for has to have you with them to be able to use a service (for example, to go to a visitor attraction) then they are covered by the Equality Act 2010.
Every visitor attraction and leisure facility will have its own policy but many will not charge you to accompany the person you care for if they can’t go without you.
It doesn’t make a difference if the person you care for pays when they visit, or if they have an annual prepaid pass or membership.
How to make sure your rights are protected
Try to talk to the visitor attraction or organisation and ask for free entry as a carer. This might be worth checking over the phone or via email before you visit. Make a note of who you spoke to and what they said.
If you are not happy with the response you receive and wish to complain you can write to the visitor attraction using one of the template letters available from The Equality Advisory & Support Service (EASS). Search for the Direct Discrimination Complaint – Services in the EASS resources section.
How to fill out the letter template
You need to fill the letter template out with the relevant information and then send it directly to the visitor attraction or organisation. It is important that the information you add is brief and to the point. It needs to say exactly how the situation has discriminated against the person you care for.
If you are writing the letter on behalf of the person you care for add, and complete, this sentence: “I believe the person I care for is being discriminated on the grounds of disability because…………”
If you need further advice you can contact the Equality Advisory & Support Service directly on 0808 800 0082. You can also find out more about how the Equality Advisory & Support service works on this short video:
Carer success story
Recently, a carer, whose adult son has autism and severe learning difficulties, got in touch to bring this problem to our attention.
My son loves going out, he particularly likes visiting gardens and historic properties. At most of these his carer goes free, which is great. . . . [but] when visiting one of them they insisted on charging his carer £7 to accompany him. So in effect he has paid twice. He cannot visit without a carer, he wouldn't be safe. Making him pay for two people seems to me to be discriminating against him because of his disability, no-one else has to pay for two people after all.
This carer made a complaint, using the template letter from EASS, and as a result the visitor attraction in question is changing its policy so that people with disabilities who need an essential carer will not have to pay for that carer when they visit.
Next update due: August 2019