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Getting Equal Access for Everyone

Getting Equal Access for Everyone

Access to every day amenities like buildings, footpaths and public transport will be discussed at the ‘Access for All – Dunedin’ forum on Monday, 22 June.

The event, aims to bring together disabled people, community members and key decision makers from the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council to discuss improving access for all community members within the city.

Although primarily focused on access for disabled people, whose needs are often seen as secondary, the forum is also open to interested members of the public.

Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) Kaituitui (Community Networker) Chris Ford says DPA and CCS Disability Action, which have partnered to hold the forum, recognise access issues often affect older people and parents of young children as well.

“We welcome anyone in the community to come along and join the discussion and we particularly encourage disabled people and their families/whanau, friends, and support networks to come and have their say on access issues.”

He says the forum is needed. While accessibility has improved tremendously over recent decades, more work still needs to be done in this area. Access for All – Dunedin’ will enable people to have a say on access to buildings, information, communications and transport and the chance to hear from decision makers.”

“Therefore, this forum is the chance for Dunedin residents to talk to the people who can really make accessibility improvements happen”.

CCS Disability Action Southern Region Manager Joy Gunn said that having accessible buildings, footpaths, roads and buses benefits everyone. “This includes blind or visually impaired people who want to navigate our streets safely, the wheelchair user or the courier driver with a heavy delivery wanting to go into a public building, right through to a parent who wants to push their child’s stroller easily through a public garden and then take them onto a bus.”

Ms Gunn also added that accessibility extends to communication methods as well through, for example, having audio announcements on buses so that blind and vision impaired people can hear them, ensuring that information is provided about government services in accessible formats such as braille, large print, easy read (Plain English) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL).

“All of these things are important if Dunedin and New Zealand is to become a more inclusive society where everyone can participate,” she says.

The forum will be held from 10.00am-1.00pm at the Dunnigham Suite, Dunedin Public Library on Monday June 22. It will begin with morning tea followed by guest speakers who include a Barrier Free New Zealand Trust representative as well as staff from the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Authority.

‘Access for All – Dunedin’ is being jointly organised by CCS Disability Action and DPA Dunedin and Districts with funding provided by the Ministry of Social Development’s ‘Think Differently’ Fund and support from the Dunedin City Council

ENDS


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