Hartlepool inclusion group working with Tall Ships leaders to ensure 2023 event is accessible for everyone

A group representing Hartlepool's disabled people, carers and more is working with Tall Ships bosses to help make sure next year's event is accessible for all.
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The Community Led Inclusion Partnership (CLIP) was created last year to be the voice for people with disabilities and sensory loss, and make Hartlepool more inclusive. It also represents the town’s carers.

Their Tall Ships Focus Group held an event last week with Hartlepool’s Tall Ships event manager at the Community Hub Central in York Road as planning for the races gathers pace.

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Ships from all over the world, and thousands of visitors are due to visit Hartlepool marina over four days next July.

Parent Carer link worker Tracie Bestford of CLIP said: “We’re working very closely with event organisers including the local authority to look at how this event, and other things coming up in Hartlepool, can be more accessible and inclusive for our community.”

CLIP includes members from numerous voluntary and community sector groups passionate about breaking down barriers, including Hartlepool Carers, Incontrol-able, Hartlepool Deaf Centre and Vision Support Hartlepool.

Suggestions from members at the focus group meeting included for next summer’s Tall Ships Races to have good transport to and from the event, plenty of blue badge disabled parking, BSL (British sign language) interpreters, and for it to be fully wheelchair accessible, and autism friendly.

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Other things on their wishlist are for it to have a Changing Places (disabled) toilet, event volunteers to be trained in disability awareness, a buddy system to be in place, and suitable seating and rest areas.

Tracie said some great ideas came out of the session saying: "One of the main things was to have good accessible transport to and from the event.”

She added: “People that went to the event in 2010 said it wasn’t accessible in many ways; there was uneven ground, there weren’t any BSL (British sign language) interpreters.

"Event organisers have taken all that on board and that’s why they are working quite closely with us so we can look at the issues from last time and make some positive changes.”

CLIP are also running a Tall Ships online survey that people can take part in.

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