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The most accessible countries to migrate to, analysis reveals

AS Europe once more prepares itself for the tourism season, many people are afforded the luxury of simply jumping on a plane and flying to exotic destinations. However, those with physical disabilities or impairments opt to plan ahead more, all too aware of the struggles they face if the country they want to travel to is ill-prepared for those that have mobility issues. With this highly important issue in mind, UpCounsel launched an investigation into the suitability of each European nation for disabled travellers. Using 2 filtering tools, UpCounsel scraped data on:- toilets, cafes, pubs and bars, restaurants, and public transport, with every item on the list classified as accessible. Then UpCounsel then added the accessible and non-accessible results together and compared them, with the results proving noteworthy…

Other results:-

Country Transport accessibility score/10 Toilets accessibility score /10 Pubs/Bars accessibility score/10 Cafes accessibility score/10 Restaurants accessibility score/10 Final disability friendly score (/10) 
UK 8.7 8.0 6.5 4.7 4.2 7.3
Spain 8.6 7.5 6.3 3.9 5.2 7.1
Italy 7.8 6.6 6.6 5.5 6.3 6.8
Ireland 6.6 7.7 6.5 5.2 5.0 6.6
Switzerland 8.3 6.5 5.6 3.4 4.3 6.4
France 6.0 7.0 6.4 4.0 5.3 6.1
Denmark 8.8 6.7 3.3 2.0 3.1 6.1
Portugal 7.9 5.7 5.6 3.3 4.4 6
The Netherlands 6.6 5.9 6.1 3.6 6.1 5.9
Turkey 8.6 5.7 4.4 1.7 3.6 5.8
Poland 7.9 6.3 3.7 1.6 2.3 5.6
Norway 5.4 7.6 4.7 2.5 4.5 5.6
Austria 6.2 6.7 3.6 2.4 3.6 5.4
Sweden 6.9 .06 4.5 1.7 3.3 5.4
Germany 6.3 6.7 3.7 2.2 3.0 5.3
Finland 8.2 3.7 4.1 2.0 4.0 5.1
Belgium 4.5 5.8 5.3 2.6 4.9 4.9
Greece 5 4.3 5.2 2.8 5 4.5
Hungary 4.3 4.7 3.1 1.5 2.7 3.8
Slovakia 3.6 4 3.2 1.8 3 3.4
Romania 4 2 2.9 1.3 2.4 2.7

The United Kingdom prevails as the most accessible nation to physically disabled people. Diving into the data, we see that of all European nations, the UK ranks top in quantity of public toilets with disabled access, which means you can enjoy sightseeing around the country and not have to worry when nature calls. The UK also scored admirably in the pub accessibility and transport accessibility sections, coming a close second both times. However, there's still work to be done for equality, as the UK came a lowly 13th in restaurant access for the disabled. Cumulative scores combined, the UK comes 1st place in Europe with a score of 7.3/10.

Spain came in 2nd with:- 7.1/10. Whilst not specifically being the best in Europe in any category for disabled people, Spain scored consistently high for all categories, their overall score of 7.1 reflecting that. Geographically the second largest nation in the EU, the country straddles both the Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans and with a 3rd place finish for accessible public transport, disabled travelers can explore the nation with ease. As said, Spain's consistent scoring means it's a highly desirable location to visit if you're disabled, with the nation's only weaker score being a 5th place finish in the:- 'accessible cafes' section.

In 3rd place is the gorgeous nation of Italy:- 6.8/10. Beautiful lakes, classic Cities and even white sandy beaches means Italy often comes on top of people's holiday wishlist. As UpCounsel have discovered, Italy is a great location for disabled people to holiday too! The country scored particularly strongly in all 3 eatery sections, coming in 1st for accessible pubs and bars, cafes, and restaurants! However, they also come 9th in both accessible public transport and accessible toilets, highlighting that there's still infrastructure progress to be made.

The nation the scored the worst was Romania:- 2.7/10. Data reveals that the Eastern nation of Romania has by far the worst accessibility for disabled people in Europe, with a combined score of an extremely disappointing 2.7/10. Romania came bottom in 3 of 5 categories, with accessibility of restaurants and public transport coming second-to-last as opposed to last. The worst score of them all is the nation's attitude to accessible public toilets, scoring a measly 2/10. This is almost 2 full points away from its nearest rival, Finland. Disabled travellers will struggle in Romania in every aspect, from taking the bus to having a drink in a cafe.


1. UpCounsel.Com sought to discover which European country has the most disability friendly public transport systems.

2. The tool Overpass-Turbo.EU was used to search for transport and public toilets with wheelchair access across 23 countries in Europe, where data was available. Overpass is a web-based data filtering tool for OpenStreetMap a database of community-sourced map data).

3. For each country, the proportion of transportation and public toilets offering wheelchair access were calculated. A database of restaurants on TripAdvisor was used to determine the proportion of pubs/bars, cafes, and restaurants with wheelchair access.

4. An accessibility score was calculated for each country across the 5 categories proportional to the % wheelchair accessibility. An average is taken as the final score.

5. Due to the current political situation, Russia and Ukraine's results were removed from the study.

6. All data was collected on the 7 July 2022, and is accurate as of then.

NSPCC prepares for rise in calls about children left home alone as Schools break up

THE NSPCC has launched a campaign urging parents and carers to think carefully about leaving children home alone or unsupervised as the summer holidays start in England and Wales. Each year the leading children's charity receives the highest number of contacts from adults about this issue during the warmer months, seeing peaks when children break up for the summer holidays and are outside the home for extended periods. The NSPCC is preparing for another spike this summer. During the past 2 years more than 2 in 5 contacts took place across the months of:- May, June, July and August 2022.

The guidance also comes as the NSPCC reveals that it made a higher number of referrals to external agencies in the North West during the Pandemic than in the previous year. In 2020/21 it made 642 referrals; that is a 7% increase from 2019/20. A referral to agencies, such as the Police and Social Services, is made when the NSPCC considers that information given in a contact to the Helpline warrants further investigation. While some of the contacts to the Helpline are from adults simply seeking guidance on when it is appropriate to leave children unattended, in 2020/21, a worrying 60% of contacts from across the UK resulted in referrals.

The charity says a possible explanation for the increase in contacts and referrals during the Pandemic was that more people were working from home and more aware of their neighbours and what was happening with the people around them. As the country moves beyond the Pandemic and the number of referrals made by the NSPCC Helpline start going back to pre-Pandemic levels (519 in 2021/22) the cost of living crisis is now the pressing issue affecting families. Much like during the Pandemic, the charity is encouraging members of the public to continue to look out for the children in their communities.

During the 2020 lockdown, a neighbour called the NSPCC Helpline and said:- "I'm concerned about a 9 year old who is regularly being left unsupervised whilst her Mother goes to work. The mother does shift work so can be out of the house at different times of the day or night. The family have dogs and they are left with the child unsupervised. I know the child is alone because I see the mother leaving the house for work and the child looking out of the bedroom window."

There's no legal age a child can be left home alone as every child matures differently, but it's against the law to leave a child alone if it puts them at risk. A child who doesn't feel comfortable shouldn't be left alone. Parents trying to work and manage the 6-week School break can be challenging, particularly in light of soaring child costs in recent years. Between work, appointments and other family commitments, every parent will have to leave their child home alone at some point. As children get older, it's common for them to want more freedom and learn to be independent. This is an important part of growing up, but there can be a lot to think about for parents. The NSPCC and SPAR store operator Blakemore Retail have teamed up to help parents decide if their children are ready to stay home or go out alone.

Things to consider:-

  Are they ready to be left home alone? Think about if your child can deal with risks, will they behave responsibly, will they be safe. And perhaps most importantly, how does your child feel about this idea?

  If your child is going out alone make sure you know where they want to go, what they want to do, who they will be with and how far will they travel. This will help you to make the right decision.

  Will they be safe and sound? If they are staying at home, make sure they have a parent or carer's number, another trusted adult's number and have a trusted adult in mind that they could go to in person, in an emergency. If they are going out alone make sure they know their full name, address, and have 2 trusted adults' phone numbers.

  Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time.

  Children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight.

  Talk to your child early on about scenarios they might face and how to stay safe. Ask them what they'd do and how they feel about them.

  Set clear boundaries to help you and your child know how they should behave when you're not around. It's a good idea to agree on some house or outside rules that suit their maturity before you leave them alone. Give your child a chance to build their independence by building your trust.

Blakemore Retail, which runs 263 SPAR stores in England and Wales, is supporting the NSPCC's:- 'Home or Out Alone' campaign, which aims to help parents make the right decision about leaving their children at home safely or letting them leave the house unsupervised. A new quiz is also available to help provide families with helpful guidance to keep their children safe. Kam Thandi, NSPCC National Services Director said:- "As the School summer holidays begin, we want to encourage parents and carers to think carefully about leaving children home alone or unsupervised, and also remind members of the public to look out for the children in their communities. During the Pandemic we saw an increase in the contacts we received about this issue, as many people were at home and more aware of what the people around them were doing. The summer months can present a particularly challenging time for parents and carers when it comes to making the decision about whether to let their children stay home alone or go out unsupervised. We launched our Home or Out Alone campaign with Blakemore Retail to help them navigate these decisions that we know can be tricky."


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