Harrogate district prepares to celebrate accessibility this weekend

Organisations, businesses and charities throughout the district are getting ready to take part in Disabled Access Day celebrations, an award-winning event taking place from 10-12 March 2017.

Disabled Access Day is about ‘You and Somewhere New’, and invites disabled people, their friends and families to try something different and visit places they’ve never been to before.

The three-day event is powered by Euan’s Guide, the disabled access review website which is used by people to share and discover accessible places to visit.

Events happening around the district for disabled people, friends and family to try include:

Friday 10 March:

Swimming at Spa Baths
7.30pm – 8.30pm open to disabled people and carers/families. £2.95 adult, £1.50 children. A carer is admitted free of charge if required.

Saturday 11 March:

  • Taster session at Kids Inclusive Social Saturday
    KISS is a play club for children who have different abilities, and their friends and siblings, catering for 5-18 year olds. It meets at Fairfax Community Centre in Harrogate from 10.00am until 1.00pm. Booking is essential. £10.00 per session. For further information contact danielle.mulholland@harrogate.gov.uk, or call 07525 988145.
  • Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre 11am-3pm.  The centre has a sports wheelchair and soft balls, catching nets, sticky bats and tennis racquets and there’s easy tarmac access to the courts.  Contact Harrogate Spa Tennis Centre for further information and to discuss any specific requirements by emailing HSTC@hotmail.com.
  • Sports drop-in at Knaresborough Community Centre – a range of sports to try, including Boccia and Kurling.  Sessions are free but booking is essential, e–mail danielle.mulholland@harrogate.gov.uk or call 07525 988145.

For anyone concerned about how to shower and get changed, the Hydro is asking people to go along and try the fully accessible changing rooms with a hoist and changing bench.  It can be positioned under the shower and a ceiling hoist that moves around the room.

There are also two sporting opportunities taking place over the next few months aimed specifically at people with disabilities:

  • The Hydro in Harrogate is hosting a para swimming/diving taster session on Saturday 25 March between 4.15pm and 5.15pm, featuring Paralympic medallists Charlotte Henshaw and Matt Walker and coaches.  Booking is essential, e-mail richard.heselton@harrogate.gov.uk or call 01423 556767 (option 5) for further information.
  • Adapted water skiing at Calmwater Bay, Knaresborough on Saturday 27 May; open to anyone disabled over the age of 8. Confidence in deep water essential, buoyancy aids and all equipment provided. Limited places. Contact danielle.mulholland@harrogate.gov.uk, or call 07525 988145 for further details.

 

Councillor is the Leader of Harrogate Borough Council.  He said: Disabled Access Day is a great initiative to draw attention to the important issue of accessibility and encourage people with disabilities to visit places they haven’t been before – and perhaps try an activity they haven’t done before, because they thought it would be inaccessible.

It’s really important that venues and facilities that are open to the public make themselves as accessible as possible, and Disabled Access Day also plays a role in highlighting what help and support is out there for businesses and organisations that are keen to improve their accessibility.

 

Jackie Snape is the Chief Executive of Harrogate based Disability Action Yorkshire.  She said:

We are delighted that colleagues in the voluntary, statutory and private sectors have come together to look at ways in which Disabled Access Day can be rolled out across the Harrogate area.

We would really encourage all businesses to think about how they could improve access for disabled people – not only on the weekend of 10 – 12 March but 365 days of the year!  Sometimes the smallest thing can make a big difference, and of course if anyone would like any advice on what they can do to make their premises or services more accessible we would be only too happy to help.

 

Harrogate Borough Council’s Disability Project has a range of sessions for all ages and abilities from play schemes and social groups to fitness sessions and swimming lessons. New customers are always welcome. Contact the council on 01423 500 600 for more information.

 

Local MP, Andrew Jones, is encouraging local businesses to ‘think access’ this weekend.

Mr Jones commented: Accessibility is important.  It is important for people with disabilities because it enables them to take part in the activities that many of us take for granted, to shop in the places they want to shop and to visit the places they want to visit.

While this weekend encourages us all to think about access I know it is something that the majority of businesses and organisations have already taken on board.  While there is always more to be done accessibility has improved dramatically over recent years.  We must all share best practice to help places which are less accessible make that move to being open to all.

More information about the National Disabled Access Day 2017 is available from www.disabledaccessday.com

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