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Famous Kiwis rise to #UD Step-Free Challenge

Lifemark is asking Kiwis to go ‘step free’ from 3rd December, which is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, in a social media challenge that aims to raise awareness of the need for Universal Design in the built environment. The #UDStepFree challenge invites people to upload a video of themselves entering a building or going somewhere without the barrier created by stairs and steps. Participants are then asked to upload their videos to social media with the hashtag #UDStepFree. Participants then nominate others to do the same.

The challenge has already been embraced by several high-profile New Zealanders. Mark Richardson, host of the Block NZ and presenter on the AM show, Hamish Dodd, interior designer and television personality and Adam Wakeford, former Paralympian and Wheel Black all have videos available for view on the Lifemark website.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero is also getting behind the #UDStepFree challenge to highlight the barriers many disabled people face. “I want to draw attention to everyone’s right to participate and have a sense of belonging in their community. Accessible and Universal Design can make the difference to whether someone can get to their job, school, or doctor, or attend an event,” she says.

Lifemark is a commercial division of CCS Disability Action and provides professional design advice on accessibility and Universal Design. For Geoff Penrose, General Manager the challenge is a light-hearted way to get people talking about the importance of accessibility.

“Universal Design is about designing in a way that’s best for everyone, no matter your age, stage or ability. Approximately 25 per cent of New Zealanders have a disability, but only two per cent of New Zealand’s housing stock has elements of Universal Design. We’ve created #UDStepFree to spread the word that it’s essential that all buildings in New Zealand have at least one step free entrance. We hope to see lots of Kiwis take up the challenge!” he says.

Go to www.lifemark.co.nz/udstepfree-challenge/ to view the videos.

The challenge will run until early next year

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