An image inside the Square Chapel Halifax showing several men and women in wheelchairs.

ACCESSIBLE CALDERDALE OVERVIEW

ACCESSIBLE CALDERDALE PROJECT                  

Making Calderdale a place that offers an accessible and inclusive welcome to people who live, work and study here and those who visit.

Calderdale is a beautiful and historic place with a vast amount of hidden gems to visit and get to know. We have a host of interesting and famous places that are on the map including the Gentleman Jack filming location Shibden Hall; Eureka the National Children’s Museum and winners of the Gold Accessible Tourism Awards; The Piece Hall; Square Chapel and Dean Clough. https://www.visitcalderdale.com/blog/gentleman-jack-filming-locations

We received 3 years funding from the Community Foundation for Calderdale to work with disabled people and local voluntary groups, the local authority, visitor attractions, transport companies, new planning developers and architects, businesses and Visit Calderdale. We are working together with Disability Partnership Calderdale to make a difference to our local community.

“We want everybody to take full advantage of what our beautiful area has to offer.  This includes visitors and people who live here.   We want to make sure that Calderdale is a fully accessible and welcoming place where people with disabilities and their families can enjoy what is on their doorstep and visitors leave with memories that entice them to return!”

Visits Unlimited

We are a Halifax based user led organisation working both locally and nationally with colleagues in the tourism industry. We run a popular training and access audit programme across England. Clients include the National Trust, English Heritage, football and cricket grounds, large tourist attractions, small businesses, theatres, music venues, museums and hotels.   

We ran the successful and sustainable Accessible Hebden project thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Calderdale in 2015.  Working with disabled people we completed over 40 access audits and surveys on small businesses to support them to become more accessible.   This project is now imbedded into local strategic work and the Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum continues to roll out the work and to be a key player in new planning and designs.

Accessible Calderdale

Accessible Calderdale is building on the Accessible Hebden work thanks to a grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale.  This enables us to work across Calderdale together with our partners Disability Partnership Calderdale.   We have established the Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum to ensure that the voice of disabled people, their families and carers, organisations working with people with a range of impairments is central working together on access issues and solutions. We are now involved with new plans, local area developments, transport infrastructure, tourist attractions, businesses and the voluntary sector to improve the access and inclusion for those living, working and visiting the area.

“Visits Unlimited have been a catalyst for us on the Hebden Bridge project.  We had identified access issues with our Access Group but just turning up was not good enough. Visits Unlimited did a report on the train station and to have their report under our arm has given strength to our argument every single time we have met and we were able to go to Network Rail and the highway authorities   – it has made a big difference.  I have learned a lot – things I did not know or what was available.” Hebden Bridge Partnership.

 “Our disability survey was extremely useful as we did not appreciate the things that needed doing.  Chris gave us lots of useful simple ideas including even changing the door knob on the toilet facilities that we never thought about.”  Pennine Heritage.

The project has developed a Working Group which regularly meets and includes our partners from Visit Calderdale, Eureka, Countryside and Management, Community Transport, West Yorkshire Transport Authority, the Wool Shops and representatives of the local council.  The group is integral to the project in developing Calderdale into an accessible and inclusive place.

Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum

The most important driving force behind the project is the new Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum.  This group is led by people with lived experience of disability and is building on the good practice of the Hebden Forum.

The group is involved with new builds and developments in the town centre, railway station, Northgate House, the A629 between Huddersfield and Halifax, the Hospital transport, and businesses. Among our top priorities are that local tourist attractions and countryside work towards improving their access and that people can travel to venues by public transport or their own vehicles.  Information is key and we are working closely with Visit Calderdale and the Council to have Accessibility Guides available on their websites.

Our plans include establishing a new Brighouse group, increasing membership of ACDAF, linking in with the Hebden Bridge Forum, and working alongside the Todmorden Access Forum.

User led organisations or individual wishing to get involved can contact the project coordinator, Lorraine Beiley.  Lorraine@visitsunlimited.org.uk

Access Audits and Training

We are working alongside local businesses, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, local council developments and the voluntary sector to deliver our access audits and to provide recommendations and reports.

We know that this makes good business sense and allows organisations and venues to access the Purple Pound https://www.visitcalderdale.com/blog/the-purple-pound-inclusive-accessible-tourism

We are also working with businesses to provide our Disability Equality Training and Customer Service – we believe that attitude is key to having an inclusive and accessible environment. For more information on how to apply for a business audit or training programme please get in touch with Katie Clarke. katie@visitsunlimited.org.uk

Thanks to our funders at the Community Foundation for Calderdale we are doing free access audits and training for the voluntary sector and community organisations. These organisations are then able to apply for a small grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale on the recommendations by our Access Auditor.

Contact details

For more information contact Lorraine@visitsunlimited.org.uk on 07596707795 or katie@visitsunlimited.org.uk