Thursday, January 6, 2011

British group creates disability access map

From BBC News:

A disability group has designed a map featuring the access points to key buildings in Wimborne.

The guide, published by East Dorset Disability Advisory Group, grades the access areas from one to four.

The number one denotes access for "older and less mobile" people while four means "independent" wheelchair users will be able to enter.

The group said it "went to every business premises" and it "was not finger pointing".

Lowered kerbs marked with dotted lines also feature on the map, which uses colours that can be recognised by partially sighted people.

"We went to every business premises," said Jenny Clark, chair of the group, which is run by East Dorset County Council.

"I think a lot of the shops are trying very hard - sadly because of the listed buildings and general beauty of the area some pavements don't easily lend themselves to wheelchair access."

Putting a bell outside the door for those who are unable to access a shop is a simple solution said Ms Clark, who is also a wheelchair user.

"If there's a bell outside at least you can get attention," she added.

Ms Clark acknowledged that for small businesses installing access points could be costly and the map was not intended to shame those who had not invested.

"It's absolutely not finger pointing - quite the opposite in fact, she added. "People have come up with their own ideas as we've spoken to them."

The map, which is free, is available from the library and Tourist Information Centre in Wimborne.