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Council launch digital resource to aid access and inclusion in local organisations

05 November 2021
Derry City and Strabane District's Council's (DCSDC) Access and Inclusion Project have launched a new digital pack to help local businesses and cultural agencies to 'AIM For Better' in meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
The Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) Resource Pack was launched this week at the Void Gallery and is supported by the Public Health Agency in partnership with Developing Healthy Communities.
The pack collates a wide range of information and advice to allow organisations to build a shared understanding of the needs of the pan disability population in the Council area with specific advice and guidance relating to the delivery of services.
"The AIM pack is an Access Inclusion Model of practice developed and designed through working partnerships and learning through Council's Access and Inclusion Project," explained Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, at the launch.
"It is an ideal opportunity for businesses and organisations to tailor their premises and services to meet the needs of those with disabilities so that they are welcoming and accommodating places for everyone to visit.
"Maximising accessibility can also have a positive impact on the businesses through increased custom so I would encourage all local organisations to consider signing up for the scheme."
Director of Business and Culture at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Stephen Gillespie, added: "The Access and Inclusion project is an integral core project within Council as it continuously asks us to look at what more we can do to improve disabled people's quality of life and strengthen our society as a whole. 
"The AIM resource pack is a sound example of collaborative working that will support businesses to create a standard to suit the needs of disabled people."
Erin McFeely, Chief Executive at Developing Healthy Communities added: "Making the spaces you manage accessible to all and inclusive of everyone isn't a chore, it's a pleasure, but it does take concerted focus and effort.
"We know there's no limit to the energy that employers in Derry City and Strabane have when it comes to building healthy, inclusive environments for their staff and customers and with this pack, they have one central resource to support them."
The Millennium Forum worked with Council in the pilot and testing phase of the pack and their Chief Executive David McLaughlin described the process as 'invaluable'. 
"This pack will serve as a toolkit for us all and ensure our City and district is accessible and welcoming to everyone," he said.
"This partnership has been invaluable in helping us ensure we are a Theatre accessible for everyone, it is more than the right thing to do."
Maeve Butler, Head of Access and Engagement at launch hosts, the Void Gallery, added:
"We strive to be as accessible as possible for all audiences.
"Crucial to this has been working with Council to improve our gallery through initiatives including the access grant, which has allowed us to enhance physical access to the gallery, workshops such as the JAM card training sessions and signing up to the Every Customer Counts charter.
"We welcome the introduction of AIM digital resources and look forward to using it as a guideline so we can ensure that all members of our community have access to high quality visual art exhibitions and events."
Fiona Teague, Head of Health Improvement in the PHA's Western Area added:
"The AIM pack for business and cultural venues is a clear example of how we can all work together to promote a more accessible, inclusive and healthier society which removes barriers for people with disabilities to enjoy everyday life.
"The PHA have commissioned over £1 million into the Access Inclusion Programme in the Council area since 2013 and this work has improved inclusive practice across the area and is widely recognised as a model of excellent practice across Northern Ireland."
To learn more about how your business can access the AIM pack visit derrystrabane.com/AIM