Importance of accessibility highlighted to businesses
24 June 2021
Derry City and Strabane District Council is launching an A.I.M Access and Inclusion Digital resource pack for businesses in partnership with Public Health Agency and Developing Healthy Communities and is encouraging local businesses who are keen to make their business more accessible and inclusive to sign up to take part in a lunchtime launch event next week.
The event will be held virtually via Zoom on Wednesday 30 June at 12.30 and will feature a host of speakers that will offer a range of practical advice and information on the benefits of improving accessibility and inclusivity within businesses and venues.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke welcomed the initiative saying it was hugely important for businesses and venues across the Council area to become more accessible and inclusive.
Encouraging people to sign up to the event next Wednesday, Mayor Warke said by encouraging more businesses to improve their accessibility we will achieve greater equality and promote positive attitudes towards disability and diversity.
Erin McFeely, Developing Healthy Communities Chief Executive says: “Making the spaces you manage accessible to all, and inclusive of everyone, is not a chore – it’s a pleasure. It’s the joy of knowing that you’ve made your business or venue, or community space available to anyone who might want to enjoy it. Adapting your business to be more accessible can sometimes take concerted focus and effort but we also know that 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. We are delighted to be working with the Council to help them do this.”
Among the speakers will be International Keynote Speaker, Double PhD doctorate, Double Guinness World Record holder, Visually Impaired Athlete and lawyer, Dr. Sinead Kane who will outline how she doesn’t let her disability hold her back and is living life to the full. She will give an insight into how she has overcome a lot of adversity throughout her life and now wants to help others by offering advice on motivation, and creativity.
The second speaker will be Helen Ferguson, who has 40 years’ experience in the community and voluntary sector as a volunteer, trustee and paid worker including the role of Director of Carers Northern Ireland for nearly 20 years and is a former Commissioner with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Since 2017, Helen has worked as Policy and Campaigns Officer with the National Deaf Children’s Society and is a strong believer in collaboration and will provide an overview of the work she does in the voluntary sector networks including the Coalition on Deafness and the Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance.
There will be local input too from Lisa Heaney, Box Office and Access Manager at the Millennium Forum who will talk about the work she does to promote positive attitudes, remove barriers and encourage participation for people living with a disability. She will outline how the Forum supported the pilot and testing of DCSDC A.I.M resource pack and have taken part in many access initiatives including a full programme of accessible events. She will also outlined details of the number of positive changes to the facility to improve access throughout the Forum.
Jade Kelly, Disability Ambassador for Strabane alongside Louise Boyce, Access and Inclusion Coordinator, will also share her honest story on barriers she has been presented with but importantly how she overcame them and why she endorses Access Inclusion Model of practice as a great starting point for businesses.