Unlocking the South West’s heritage for everyone: Volunteers needed

 


Photo Credit: Neil Warren

The South West is full of wonderful heritage places to explore, from caves to historic houses and sweeping landscapes. According to the Papworth Trust, disabled adults in the North and South West report the highest number of life areas (education and leisure) where participation is restricted.  Despite the efforts of museums, galleries and other leisure attractions, feedback from disabled and Deaf people suggests there is more that can be done to make these places more accessible.

The Heritage Ability project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund has a clear vision – to break down barriers at these heritage places, unlocking the South West for everybody to enjoy.


Photo Credit: Neil Warren

Heritage Ability is delivered by the charity Living Options Devon (no.1102489). The charity is user-led, meaning its staff and volunteers have first-hand experience of the issues faced by disabled and Deaf people. The charity’s mission is to ensure that people with disabilities and Deaf people across the South West have the opportunity to life the life they choose.

The Heritage Ability project will support at least 20 heritage places across the South West, from the West tip of Cornwall all the way to Gloucestershire to take a holistic view of accessibility – looking not just at doors, toilets and ramps, but at a whole range of aspects that shape the visitor’s experience. Interventions will include British Sign Language (BSL) videos, easy read literature, large-print format interpretation and visual stories to support a wide range of disabilities. Many sites will also benefit from an all-terrain scooter (Tramper), enabling them to access the outdoors like never before.

The project will also be informed and led by disabled volunteers, who will go undercover and mystery visit these heritage locations to give feedback. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to act as Heritage Ability champions, becoming an advocate for a heritage place or cluster of local heritage places to support these sites in a variety of ways. If you’d like to get involved and find out more about the project, visit www.heritageability.org

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