The Accessible Derbyshire 'BIG PUSH' is launched!
Local charity Accessible Derbyshire has launched a major new initiative called 'The Big Push'.
The objective of this 2 year initiative is to make the Peak District and Derbyshire the most accessible National Park and county in the country.
Today, 3rd December: the 'International Day for Persons with Disabilities' representatives of some of the key local organisations who have an influence on accessibility in the area gathered at the Longshaw Estate to give their support.
Ross Calladine: Head of Accessibility at Visit England and Jim Dixon: Head of the Peak Park Authority took part in the event which also hosted representatives from Visit Peak District, World Heritage Sites, English Heritage, Derbyshire County Council, Sheffield Hallam University and Disability Sport to name a few. The High Sheriff of Derbyshire, David Coleman was also there to enjoy the day.
At the event, which was extensively covered by the BBC, attendees both able and disabled were given the opportunity to have a go on the fabulous 'BOMA 7' all-terrain wheelchairs on loan from Hoe Grange Holidays, Brassington and Molten Rock..
The Boma 7 is the 'Range Rover' of the wheelchair world and can make even the most rugged of places accessible.
Whilst Derbyshire currently has only one BOMA 7 it is hoped that through The Big Push enough funds will be raised to buy more of them along with other equipment that will put Derbyshire in the top spot nationally when it comes to accessibility. This includes Wheelyboats which enable people to go fishing in wheelchairs, Tramper Vehicles, Hearing Loops, Profiling beds , hoists and shower-chairs for holiday properties and additional Changing Places toilets amongst many other pieces of kit on the Accessible Derbyshire shopping list.
Another key element of The Big Push will be the offer of accessibility training for visitor attractions and businesses, helping them to both improve the experience they offer to disabled people and also to increase their share of what has become known as the 'purple pound' which is worth billions in this country alone. With one in four families affected by disability and only 6 – 8% of disabled people being wheelchair users, accessibility is about far more than just level access.
Gillian Scotford, co-founder of the charity explained that: “Jane and I have 6 children between us, three of whom are disabled so we know first-hand the many frustrations and challenges that can be involved with taking a trip out and are determined to make a difference.”
Fellow co-founder Jane Carver added that: “ We would love as many people as possible to fundraise for the Big Push. By working together across the region we know we can succeed and we feel that the Big Push launch will be seen in years to come as a landmark for improved accessibility in Derbyshire and the Peak District.”
The charity hopes to inspire people to do their bit to improve accessibility and at the end of the two years the charity will hold the first ever 'Accessible Derbyshire Awards', recognising good practice throughout the region
To raise funds for the Big Push or to let Accessible Derbyshire know about your accessible accommodation, attraction, venue, activity or club please contact Jane and Gillian on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.accessiblederbyshire.org.