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Inclusive design cheer after a strange year

Extra wide Christmas border with fir branches, red and silver baubles, pine cones and other ornaments, isolated on white

We need a crystal ball rather than Christmas baubles to guess what impact the elections and events of 2016 will have on global economics and the world order.

We’ve learnt anything can happen and, for many, that’s unsettling and alarming.

So, I’ve decided to hand out the mince pies, be optimistic and share some of Proudlock Associates uplifting memories from 2016. We’ve worked with some superb clients.

Yes, the political landscape might be worrying but we know from our work that the physical urban landscape is going to improve, and offer a better welcome to more disabled people — thanks to clients’ decisions to embrace inclusive design. That is something we can celebrate this Christmas, and for years to come.

It’s heartening for us to be working as inclusive design consultants across most sectors and industries: universities, retailers, public bodies, hotels and charities all want to provide the best possible services to their disabled customers.

Major redevelopments

For example, this month — more than 17 years after the Vaux brewery in Sunderland closed its doors — work starts on a £100m redevelopment that promises to transform its former site. We’re proud to have worked with the design team for this new gateway to the city centre, which will include office, retail, residential and leisure areas. Siglion is the partnership that is leading this far-sighted redevelopment of the North-East.

Back down south, we are delighted to see our client making great progress with its transformation of Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The UK’s first out-of-town shopping centre in 1976, the iconic retail destination is to undergo a £1.4bn redevelopment by its owners Hammerson and Standard Life Investments.

We’ve been asked to consider inclusive design and access for the planned new cinema complex, town square, bus station, park, and hundreds of new homes that are part of the scheme. And that’s in addition to the shopping mall itself, with hundreds more shops and restaurants. Find out more, press here.

Cinema success

On a cosier scale — and offering some seasonal escapism from overwhelming current affairs — taking time out to chill with friends at an Everyman Cinema is worth considering. Everyman has an ambitious business plan and we are helping them with inclusive design advice.

Witness this for yourself at the now glorious Muswell Hill Everyman Cinema, which recently reopened after a £3m restoration to repair its treasured art deco interior.

Charities commit

Christmas is a particularly hard time for people who are struggling emotionally, and so we would also like to pay tribute to two invaluable charities that we’ve worked with in 2016: Veterans Aid and The Samaritans.

Veterans Aid cares for veterans in crisis, particularly helping those who are homeless.

The Samaritans are there to listen, whatever you’re going through, round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are free to call.

Both charities have realised the importance of inclusive design, and how this will help them bring benefits to even more people.

Inclusion Resolution?

Have you got an Inclusion Resolution for 2017? Maybe you want to take the first steps in making your premises more inclusive, to meet building regulations or just because you feel it is the right thing to do. Every positive step forward counts: Christmas is the season of goodwill, and the world needs that in bucket loads right now.

Finding out what is possible is a great place to start and we’re happy to be a sounding board for your ideas. Hopefully we can help you achieve this resolution, even if your gym membership turns out to be a triumph of hope over experience.

Finally, I hope you have a super Christmas and New Year.