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Celebrating Inclusion

Tracey ProudlockBeing a judge for the Accessible Britain Challenge Awards 2015 has been massively rewarding; for the last few weeks I have been assessing an all star line up of organisations that have helped transform the lives of disabled people.

The upshot of the Judges’ deliberations has this week been recognised at an awards ceremony dedicated to promoting accessibility.

Groups from across the country were honoured for their work at a ceremony hosted by Minister of State for Disabled People Mark Harper at the Houses of Parliament.

The YMCA Community Gym in Peterborough and London-based live music accessibility charity Attitude is Everything were victorious in their categories, alongside the Safe Place Scheme from Poole and the Corporate Disability Forum based in West Cheshire.

Of course winning an award is only possible when an organisation has actually done something extra that marks it out for merit. Just staying on the right side of the law isn’t enough. The notable aspect of the Accessible Britain Challenge Award winners is how all the winners developed their projects in active partnership with those who will use the service; the widest possible range of disabled people have contributed their wisdom and experience.

Perhaps you belong to an organisation that would like to accept the Accessible Britain Challenge? Below you can find out more about the winners, learn from their experience and design local schemes where you live. Good luck!

The YMCA Community Gym in Peterborough

YMCA Community Gym - PeterboroughThe YMCA Community Gym in Peterborough was recognised for providing a fully inclusive gym with specialised equipment and tailored fitness programmes for disabled people and long-term health conditions.

Launched in 2011 for disabled people to get fit and socialise, the community gym now has over 700 members and has also provided training and support for disabled people who want to become fitness instructors.

London-based Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything - LondonLondon-based Attitude is Everything were honoured for their work in improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working with artists, audiences and the music industry.

Disabled people train venue staff on behalf of the charity and organise ‘mystery shoppers’ to test venues.

Safe Places in Poole and Bournemouth Scheme

Safe Place Scheme PooleThe Safe Places in Poole and Bournemouth Scheme won the Safer Neighbourhoods award for providing people with learning disabilities in Poole and Bournemouth with somewhere to go when distressed or in need in their town centre. The scheme encourages shops, public buildings and other organisations to sign-up, and their team trains staff to feel confident and able to provide support if it is needed.

West Cheshire Corporate Disability Action Forum

The Corporate Disability Action Forum – West CheshireThe West Cheshire Corporate Disability Action Forum (CDAF) is a partnership of local and regional disability organisations, local access groups and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

It played a key role in the design of major new retail, culture and leisure facilities, ensuring that accessibility issues are taken into account.

With thanks to the DWP for winners’ photographs