New online guide launched for disability access at 200 sites in Hartlepool

A new online guide on disability access to 200 different sites in Hartlepool is set to be officially launched next month to help people in the area.

Thursday, 3rd January 2019, 11:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 7:24 am
Middleton Grange shopping centre Hartlepool.

Online service AccessAble has been commissioned by Hartlepool Borough Council to undertake access reviews for 200 venues across the town.  

AccessAble, originally called DisabledGo, was set up in 2000 by Dr Gregory Burke as a result of his own experiences as a ‘wheelchair user and disabled walker’.

Working alongside over 100 different disability groups the organisation developed its first website in 2002.

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Now 75 detailed access guides have been completed in Hartlepool and the guides are being uploaded to the new AccessAble website.

Another 125 hybrid access guides have also been completed and will be uploaded to the website.

Council chiefs are proposing an event on Monday, February 4 to officially launch the service and make people aware of the guides on offer.

A report is to go before the council’s adult and community based services committee on Thursday next week noting the work carried out and the proposed launch date.

The report from Jill Harrison, director of adult and community based services, said the online guide hopes to encourage people to access local services and make sure they are informed on facilities they offer.

It said: “Many people with disabilities find that not having information to hand prior to planning a trip to a venue meant that too often going out became a stressful and anxious experience.

“It is intended that development of an online accessibility guide will encourage and enable people to be better informed about local services.”

Since the website’s initial launch it has grown and developed across the country, continually meeting and listening to local communities.

The website is now used by over 1.5 million people each year to plan a visit or trip out.

It provides photographs and verbal information on parking, entrances to sites and facilities inside aiming to help people with disabilities.

The sites in Hartlepool include shops in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, community centres, libraries, along with cafes, pubs and restaurants.

The information will be updated on the website and a short demonstration will be provided to committee members ahead of the official launch event.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service