A year-long project to make Somerset more accessible for Disabled people was launched on 1 April 2023.
‘Accessible Somerset’ is an ambitious project which will ask Disabled people how their life could be improved in various areas. The project is seeking volunteers to share their views and is asking for individuals and organisations to get involved by contacting Disability.Inc@wecil.org.uk.
‘Accessible Somerset’ will begin by working with local Disabled people and organisations to help map the areas of need across Somerset. This will help to identify the key areas of focus for the project.
To deliver this project, Somerset Council has teamed up with WECIL Ltd – a Disabled People’s Organisation who offer a range of services which support independent living. WECIL have been working with both public and private sector organisations since 2016, supporting senior management teams, HR professionals and Equality Diversity and Inclusion officers to create accessible, inclusive environments.
Cllr Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset Council, said:
“Accessibility means ensuring that Disabled people have the opportunity to live the life they choose and pursue the things that are important to them.
“The barriers to this can be physical – such as poor building access or facilities – or it can be related to personal and societal attitudes. Our ambition with this piece of work is to look at both of these things, improving physical accessibility for Disabled people in Somerset, and also improving people and organisations’ understanding of accessibility.
He continued: “We are thrilled to be working with WECIL Ltd on this important piece of work. The Organisation is comprised of people with lived experience of disability who have an excellent understanding of the things preventing Disabled people from living independently.
“We hope to see lots of people engage with the project. Though not everything can be resolved within 12 months, a lot of small changes can begin to make a big difference.”
Alison Browning, Business Partner at WECIL Ltd said:
“We are delighted to be working with Somerset Council on this project. We will be supported by WECILs Access and Inclusion Team (WAIT), a group of Disabled people who volunteer their time to improve the quality of life, inclusion, and access for all people.
“Our support ensures organisations meet the requirements of the Equality Act and DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) as a minimum, whilst helping them to develop their understanding of what access means for those with lived experience.”
If you would like to be involved in the project, please contact Kinny Chinangwa or Alison Browning at Disability.Inc@wecil.org.uk.