01 August 2012

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Accessibility 'Garden Open'. Photograph by Zen Sutherland.Accessibility 'Garden Open'. Photograph by Zen Sutherland.

Our theme for the month of August is ‘accessibility’.  We have chosen this to tie in with the start of the Paralympics, itself one of the greatest celebrations of access to sport for disabled people.  But what do we mean by ‘accessibility’ when it comes to heritage and the environment?

Stoke Mandeville Stadium, birthplace of the Paralympics. Photograph by Andy Wilkes.

In one sense the whole of the Discovering Places project over the last four years has been about increasing access.  Our aim has been to involve people in the environment around them, whether built, natural or historic, and to present some engaging new ways for people to find out about the places and spaces near where they live and work.  By involving new audiences we are, in the true meaning of the word, broadening access.

Access can and should be applied to all heritage and environment locations for anyone who has any difficulty in taking full advantage of the facilities on offer.  This month we will be hearing about inspiring examples of ways in which some of our partner organisations have improved access to their sites, and we would be delighted to hear from you about places you know which have run similar projects.  Later in the month we will be writing about Heritage Open Days, one of the largest public events in the UK which gives access to wonderful buildings throughout the country for more than a million visitors every year, and we will also read about some of the work in disability access being undertaken through the Cultural Olympiad in the South East of England.

The Sensory Trust.

The Olympics and Paralympics coming to London have given us a great opportunity to involve new audiences and participants in sport and culture, and we hope that this month you will take the chance to discover some more of our extraordinary places and spaces, wherever you are in the country (as long as it has stopped raining by the time you read this!).


Post by Loyd Grossman, Chairman of The Heritage Alliance


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