What is a Barrier Free Environment?
By this we mean we want Boroughs in which people, irrespective of whatever impairments they may have, enjoy an equal unimpeded access to buildings and services as the rest of the population. To this end the group undertakes a number of activities including:
- Access audits of buildings and other public spaces such as parks and town squares;
- Scrutiny of planning applications and making recommendations with respect to Disability Discrimination Act compliance.
- Contacting local government, health and other service providers to improve the quality of life and well-being of people with disabilities.
- Raising public awareness of all matters relating to people with disabilities; and
- Holding regular meetings for members to monitor the work the group is doing and to raise concerns they may have on disability issues.
In addition to the Disability Discrimination Act the group seeks to ensure that other nationally agreed standards are met such as those laid down by Part M of the Building Regulations and BS 8300 (the latter being established by the British Standards Institute and Inclusive Mobility published by the Department of Transport. The above may seem rather technical, but don’t worry – our meetings are very informal and are partly intended to help people with disabilities to understand the jargon and technical issues they may encounter. Among some of the major activities we have pursued recently have been:
- A programme of access audits of most of Sandwell’s parks.
- Recommendations for improvements to the original plans for West Bromwich town square (some of which have been accepted);
- Opposition to changes in parking arrangements for people with disabilities at hospitals within the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust (where again we were partly successful in securing concessions); and
- Keeping a watchful eye on the redevelopment of West Bromwich town centre.
The group has registered charity status (registered charity number 1087696) which means that we are answerable to the Charities Commission and our financial and other affairs may be seen on the commissions website and can be found at www.charity-commission.gov.uk Below are problems found in our local Parks and how to address them to make the enviroment accessible to physical disabilities. Please mouse click on the item whic will lead you to a more detailed page
To help you understand sight disabilities please follow the link to inclusive tool kit where sight disability information is shown