Website URL : http://wsx-donnington-pc.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=17651

Chichester is one of the most accessible places to visit thanks to local volunteers

Introduction

Chichester is now one of the most accessible places to visit, thanks to a free guide produced by community volunteers. Chichester Access Group, with the support and guidance of Chichester District Council, is aiming to improve and promote access for the disabled. The volunteers, who are either disabled or have a connection with disability, have used their expertise to collate details of every accessible publicly used building and business in the city.


The information has been pulled together to create a 68 page Chichester City Access Guide. The guide will be available for free in public places such as libraries, council offices and tourist information centres, as well as from their website www.chichesteraccessgroup.org.uk

Six group members completed an Access Auditing course and are members of the Centre for Accessible Environments. They teamed up with other members of the group to test drive shops, businesses, churches and parks around the City. Each entry is rated: Excellent, Good, or Adequate.

The group received over £3,000 lottery funding to start the project, with further money from Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council and John Wiley and Sons.

Barbara Teasdale, Chairperson of the group, wants everyone to explore and enjoy Chichester: "I came on holiday to Chichester 19 years ago – and it has been the longest holiday on record!" says Barbara.

"Chichester is so beautiful. I love the street musicians. I love the layout. It's a very happy place to live. I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else. If you gave me £1 million, I still wouldn't want to leave!"

"Our guide provides you with the key information you need. Do they have disabled toilets? Can a wheelchair fit through the door? Can you move around easily inside? Do they supply hearing loops?

"This guide saves time and helps you to plan your day, knowing that you won't face any problems. It will also make people aware of what Chichester has to offer and that it is surprisingly accessible.

"We have 191 shops and 52 accessible restaurants listed. It also provides you with the opening and closing times, the nearest car park, and goods or services supplied."

Cllr Myles Cullen, Deputy Leader of the council and Cabinet Member for the Economy, Property and Tourism, says: "We are really pleased to be able to support this initiative. Barbara and her team have done a fantastic job producing the guide. Most of them know first hand how difficult it can be accessing shops and businesses in the city. It was really pleasing to see how many shops and businesses are accessible. Hopefully it will encourage even more people to visit our beautiful city."

To request a copy please leave a message on 07818 688490 (there is a £1 charge for postage and packing), write to CAD, PO Box 695, PO19 9NE, or call into Chichester District Council's reception in East Pallant, to pick up a free copy.