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Council to celebrate local accessibility champions

Wellington City Accessibility Award nominations open this week in conjunction with the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards – recognising organisations for their invaluable contribution to the community.

The Accessibility Awards, launched last year, are designed to recognise businesses, initiatives and people who help make Wellington city more accessible for everyone.

Accessibility is not just about wheel ramps and parking, it’s about engagement, attitudes, and services, says Mayor Justin Lester.

“With almost a quarter of all New Zealanders having a disability and our growing aging population, we need to ensure they can easily participate in our communities – making the city accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

“Removing barriers starts with conversations, education, and information, so we want to celebrate the organisations, groups, and individuals that advocate for the various communities that require that extra support,” adds the Mayor.

Last year’s Accessibility Champion runner-up Thomas Bryan from the Blind Foundation says advocacy and education does make a difference.

“For some situations it’s a lightbulb moment and they just get it, while others it takes some time to work to bring down those barriers.

“Awards like this are great to recognise people in the community who are making a real difference. Not just those of us who are out there promoting accessibility, but recognition of those organisations who stand up and make a real difference in the lives of so many of us.

“Receiving this award certainly has enabled me to lobby more, but also assist others to be a voice,” says Thomas.

Nominations close Friday 31 May, with the awards happening late July. The event is presented annually by Wellington City Council in a joint ceremony alongside the Wellington Airport Community Awards. There are five categories for the Accessibility Awards:

• Accessibility Champion Award

• Accessible Initiative Award

• Accessible Workplace Award

• Customer Service Award

• Innovative Design in Accessibility Award

For more information, and how to nominate, visit wellington.govt.nz/accessibilityawards.

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