|Access All Areas|
The economic power of people who have a long term health condition or disability and their families is immense. Not only do they have a combined spending power of over £212 billion, but they have skills and talents that are underutilised, which is a real loss to businesses and the economy as a whole.
To help you improve the accessibility of your business and services, we have put together some useful tools, some of which have been designed by disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, which you will find below. These tools will not only help you provide an excellent service to new and existing customers but they will also help you support any staff who may have, or develop, a long term health condition or disability.
Many people think that good access is all about wheelchairs, well yes it is, but it is a lot more besides. Good access comes in many different of forms, making it easier for people with all types of impairments to use your services, and it also benefits older people who may have mobility issues and families with pushchairs too.
Tip 1. Everyone is covered under the Equality Act 2010.
The disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Access All Areas film
The dC Access All Areas film can be used as a training tool when inducting new staff. It can help your staff gain some understanding of the difficulties people living with a long term health condition or disability face when out and about. Although it may not be possible for you to eliminate all access issues with immediate effect, showing empathy, offering assistance, being friendly and helpful when dealing with access issues can go a long way in meeting the needs of your customers.
Tip 2. A helpful attitude costs nothing.
dC Access Checklist
We have put together two straight forward checklists which should help you determine whether you are meeting your legal requirements under the Equality Act 2010. The first is a short checklist suitable for use in a shop or smaller venue such as a village hall. This will give you an idea of whether your building is meeting current access guidance. The second includes greater detail and will be useful for larger venues which have multiple rooms in use. The results of either should indicate whether a full access audit is required. Not all aspects of the checklists will be relevant to your business, where this is the case, write N/A in the comments box.
Tip 3. Why not think about doing our Access Checklist at least once a year? That way you can keep on top of any changes.
dC Guide to Making your Building Accessible
We have created a simple, downloadable Guide to making your building accessible. The guide uses key information taken from documents such as Approved Document M – Access To and Use of Buildings and displays it in an uncomplicated, user-friendly format.
For a full version of Approved Document M: Access to and use of buildings - Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings (2015 edition), click on the link below.
Tip 4. 90% of access improvements cost less than £500
The Sensory Trust – Making the Outdoors Accessible
The Sensory Trust specialise in helping people create an accessible outdoor environment. They provide a number of helpful factsheets via their website on topics such as making paths and routes more accessible, guidance for pathway materials, suitable gradients for ramps and pathways, how to enhance steps and correct installation of handrails. There are plenty of free guidance sheets available via the link below.
Tip 5. When thinking about good access, remember that outside is just as important.
Create an Access Statement with Visit England
If you are in the tourism or catering industry, provide accommodation, or run a visitor attraction, football stadium, pub or restaurant, you can create your own Access Statement using a free tool available on the Visit England website. Having an Access Statement on your website is best practice, as it clearly describes your facilities and services to people who have access requirements. This can help you meet your legal duties under The Equality Act (2010), provide a better service to the 1 in 5 people in this country who have a disability of some kind and be used to market your business in a positive way. Businesses who have an Access Statement available on their website are actively demonstrating that they care about their disabled customers and are open and honest about any potential difficulties visitors might face. An Access Statement provides you with an opportunity to highlight and give potential customers valuable information prior to their visit so they are well prepared for any potential difficulties they might face. Create your free Access Statement via the link below.
Tip 6. Unless access information is clearly and easily available, your customers won’t know what you have to offer.
Do you want to be a Disability Confident Employer?
The Disability Confident scheme will help you on your journey to employing, supporting and promoting people living with a long term health condition or disability in your workplace. You will gain insight into an often overlooked customer base and you will learn to think differently about what disability means – both for you and for your business.
Encouraging job applications from disabled people is good for business. It can help you to:
The costs of making reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled employees are often low and the benefits of retaining an experienced, skilled employee who has acquired an impairment are usually greater than recruiting and training new staff. It is also good for the individual.
The Disability Confident scheme is a completely free government supported programme of which you can be awarded 3 levels:
Level 1: Disability Confident Committed
For each level your organisation achieves, you will receive a certificate and a badge to use on your website which will demonstrate your commitment to becoming a Disability Confident employer. Level 3 is the ultimate achievement, you’ll be acting as a champion within your local and business community, your supply chain and your networks. You’ll be showing disabled people that you are serious about leading the way and about helping other businesses to become Disability Confident.
To find out how to sign up to the Disability Confident employer scheme, visit the below website.
Tip 7. Most people will acquire their health condition or impairment during their working lives.
Making your business accessible can be achieved in many ways including ensuring your staff are suitably trained to understand the needs of customers who have differing disabilities. Often we associate poor access with steps or other physical barriers which prevent entry for wheelchair users. However, did you know only 5% of disabled people are wheelchair users? Businesses also need to ensure they cater for the needs of people who have mobility difficulties but are ambulant, people who have sight and hearing loss, people with learning difficulties or people with sensory processing difficulties such as people who have autism or dementia.
Disability Cornwall have teamed up with another highly accomplished training provider Seahorse Associates, to form 5 Degrees West, providing Remarkable Training for Remarkable People. Our training includes Disability Awareness, Equality and Diversity, Autism Awareness, Dementia Awareness, Supporting People with Reduced Mobility, First Aid at Work, Health and Safety and many others.
Tip 8. Investing in your staff tells them you care as much about them as you do about your customers.
If you’re looking to capitalise on the benefits of inclusive design, as well as ensure your organisation is meeting its legal obligations, then we can help. Our Access Audits are carried out by an NRAC (National Register of Access Consultants) registered architect. Members of NRAC are subject to rigorous assessment by the CAE (Centre for Accessible Environments) before receiving accreditation. As an architect, our Auditor is able to offer practical and feasible recommendations in relation to alterations of the physical features of a building. All areas are fully assessed and recommendations are provided by means of a detailed report. Following the advice recommended within an Access Audit will minimise risk of potential litigation due to poor access.
This is a bespoke service, please contact us with your requirements for a quote.
Tip 9. Sourcing services from our charity helps us support thousands of people with free, independent information, advice and support every year.