Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Access - the larger picture

We are currently debating the use of our building, and its accessibility.  With a few modifications the physical access would be considerably improved. But of course physical access is not the be all and end all of access. In the main physical access is less important than communication access - if you don't know what's going on then you are not likely to try to get to the place. As a community which attempts to be inclusive we need to ensure that we make ourselves aware of a range of needs and how we can best help people.

I have worked in social care and in community development so have some understanding of the range of needs that we may experience ourselves or encounter. Apart from direct physical access they include

  • Having the correct information in a timely manner;
  • Having the information in accessible formats;
  • Having transport;
  • A nearby bus-stop;
  • Clear signage;
  • Times of services;
  • The language used;
  • Support from people with children;
  • Having hymns in large print;
  • Good lighting;
  • Having a loop system; 
  • Having an accessible toilet; and
  • Specific dietary needs. 

We already do things to ensure that the place and our community are accessible. This ranges from helping people with lifts; to ensuring that everyone gets information, at times putting that information onto CD; printing out large print hymns; and generally trying to ensure that people are included. Often people with specific needs are most affected by attitudes.

If we as a community are to be committed to accessibility then we must look very broadly at what this means and then commit, every one of us, to doing something about it.

Here are a few websites which might be helpful



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