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Borough of Poole accepts Accessible Britain Challenge

Borough of Poole is working to improve access for disabled residents as part of a new national campaign. The Accessible Britain Challenge is asking communities to do more to be inclusive and accessible, by engaging and working with disabled people to remove barriers that get in the way of them being full and active participants in their community.  

The Council already supports a number of partners’ initiatives to help disabled residents in every day tasks such making Poole Town dementia friendly and travelling on public transport. The Accessible Britain Challenge is aimed at all members of the community, including local businesses, employers, service providers, voluntary and community groups/organisations and disabled people themselves. 

Just some of the schemes already in place in Poole include the development of over 100 ‘Safe Places’ across Bournemouth and Poole, led by Poole Forum and Bournemouth People First. Easily identified by a special sticker, these offer a safe haven for people with learning disabilities should they feel in danger, lost or unwell. 

The Borough’s ‘Getting About Poole’ Group works to ensure equality of access for all, whether by walking, cycling, public transport, mobility scooter or wheelchair. Working with the Council’s Parking Services the availability of Blue Badge spaces has been reviewed, with larger bays now provided as standard, and the group has also been involved in the delivery of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) schemes following funding by the Department for Transport. All bus services are now operated by 100% low floor vehicles, and over 450 bus stop kerbs have been raised at Poole stops to permit easy entrance onto the bus. 

The Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) has also been working to help disabled members of the community find employment, assisting with looking for work, providing 1:1 support in the workplace and  helping people travel independently to and from work. The group supports over 100 people every week to make a positive contribution to life in Poole and the wider community.

Cllr Karen Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Equalities, Borough of Poole, said: “We know that many disabled people face barriers in their every day lives, but residents with disabilities make up a valued part of the Poole community and we are constantly working to find ways to provide better access and services. We’re happy to be taking part in the Accessible Britain Challenge, and will be working to expand on the initiatives already in place to ensure that everyone can take a full and active role in the community.” 

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