The Western Bay Health and Social Care Programme is leading the way in Wales by launching the first DisabledGo accessibility guide in the country. Thanks to the Programme’s support, disabled residents and visitors across Swansea, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot have their own access guide, which provides detailed accessibility information to around 350 venues.
The guide covers a wide range of venues, including leisure centres, libraries, restaurants, community centres, council buildings and shops which have been visited and assessed by a DisabledGo surveyor or a local surveyor from Every Link Counts, who have looked at a whole range of accessibility features from hearing loops and parking to accessible toilets. The Western Bay venues will join 125,000 other locations across the UK that already feature on DisabledGo.
DisabledGo already produce guides to many other towns and cities all over the UK. Founded by Dr. Gregory Burke,it’s an established and trusted service, which provides people with the specific information needed to make informed choices about access in their community and across the UK.
To ensure the project met the needs of local people, the Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) was appointed by the Western Bay Programme to work in partnership with DisabledGo. They provided invaluable help with key elements such as ensuring priority venues were included in the guide and identifying which key disability and voluntary organisations needed to be consulted. BAVO’s Chief Executive Heidi Bennett, said “I am delighted to see this programme of work come to fruition. We all must consider the access needs of disabled people, they have a right to experience the same services and social activities that everyone else takes for granted, and very often that’s not the case. This resource is a step in the right direction”.
Councillor Christine Richards, Deputy Leader of the City and County of Swansea and Chair of the last meeting of the Western Bay Partnership Forum, said : “This directory will help raise awareness of the importance of the issue of access. This kind of resource can make a huge difference to disabled people and their families, enabling people to become more independent and taking the ‘guess work’ and worry out of visiting new places.”
A launch event to celebrate the access information being available was held in February at Every Link Counts Headquarters in Maesteg.
Anna Borthwick from DisabledGo said: “We are thrilled to launch our first access guide in Wales and would like to sincerely thank the Western Bay Health and Social Care Programme and BAVO for their support. Since beginning work in Western Bay, ABMU Health Board has also become a partner and we hope that other councils and health boards will look to the project as an example of best practice to be emulated.”
You can find the guide at www.disabledgo.com
For more information, please contact Elissa Turnbull, Head of Partnerships at DisabledGo on 01438 842710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org