Creating Access Guides to a region, training local surveyors and targeting improvements – Access Fylde Coast project
The Access Fylde Coast project works with businesses in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to create an accessible and welcoming experience for visitors and local people. Access Fylde Coast helped business to maximise its customer base by making products and services available to people with long-term health conditions and disabilities. The aim is to pave the way for positive improvements making the Fylde Coast more attractive to visitors, and subsequently support the local economy.
Access Fylde Coast was a programme funded through the Coastal Communities Fund and led by local organisation, Disability First. The aim was to drive Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre into the spotlight as outstanding locations for people with disabilities. The project was to look into a range of different areas and specifically enabling information about the environment to be made available to people prior to their visit. To provide training to staff of local venues to improve their confidence and skills in supporting and welcoming disabled visitors. And to create specific guidance reports that could then be used by businesses to target key improvements to their venues.
AccessAble worked with Access Fylde Coast and Disability First to create a holistic programme of accessibility support to address the different areas. It was clear that there was an opportunity to develop and share skills locally and a recruitment, training and mentoring programme was established to train and support local ‘champions’ to undertake access surveys, specifically of the smaller, less complex venues. This information could then be collected through the unique AccessAble User Interface technology which would then enable the creation of Access Guides to those venues.
These surveys could then be delivered over a longer period of time, spanning the length of the overall project period.
Further surveys of tourist attractions and larger venues were undertaken through the AccessAble team and delivered within a three month period. Overall, more than 500 venue surveys were completed, with Guides created for each.
In addition to this, a dedicated online training programme ‘Disability Essentials’ was created, enabling free access to valuable awareness training for all participating businesses. The short-course training focused on improving the confidence and skills of staff in welcoming and supporting disabled people, with content on language, appropriate behaviour and equality law. More than 500 different people undertook and completed the training course.
With the onset of the Covid pandemic taking place in the middle of the project, wider workshops to businesses were delivered on improving social distancing measures and also ‘top tips’ leaflets to businesses to target no-cost and low-cost improvements in light of the pandemic.
"AccessAble were a key part of the Access Fylde Coast (AFC) Coastal Communities funded project that ran from the end of 2018 to December 2020.
This £1m project required training of the in-house Access Champions at Disability First and direct delivery of 268 Access Guides for businesses through their own team. This was ahead of the original target. AccessAble also made available their on-line training programme in Disability Awareness and was highly successful.
Throughout this demanding project AccessAble responded to every request for engagement and without support of the Accessable Team and their involvement the success of the project would not have been achieved."