Colourful Crossing, what are they?

Colourful Crossing, what are they?

Colourful Crossing, what are they?

Some time ago, we looked in to running a ‘Pretty Pothole’ project through Accessible News, it would involve putting flowers in the potholes around the community.

We were hoping it would have a number of benefits, firstly draw attention to how bad the road surfaces are, potholes, uneven surfaces and loose debris can cause difficulties for disabled people.  Secondly, it was filling in those holes and making them more visible so that people didn’t get stuck or trip.  Thirdly, it would brighten up the community; cheer people up, a bit of colour never hurt anyone, except it can!

There is a new craze spreading through cities, pedestrian crossings painted over with brightly coloured, often abstract, artistic designs, see some examples below:

While some may think they are beautiful, colourful and artistic they pose many problems for a lot of people.  Crossings are a necessity to access one side of the pavement from another, these crossings pose a risk to people with visual impairments, the consistency and predictability of signage is fundamental to being able to navigate safely and independently.

The majority of visually impaired people have some sight. Designs and colours used on pedestrian crossings which are not consistent with traditional designs could cause confusion and risk safety. The use of black and white in traditional pedestrian crossings offer high contrast which is essential for people with low vision to detect them and stay on course when crossing roads.

Traditional zebra crossing

We have also heard accounts from visually impaired people with light sensitivity who find the artwork painful to look at.  It is also a concern for people with dementia who can often experience perceptual problems called ‘misperceptions’ where they view one thing as something completely different such as a dark area on the floor could look like a hole or blue paint could look like water, this can make people disoriented and scared.

Because of the pandemic and the restrictions to travel the streets were transformed; with widened pavements, traffic calming measures, additional space for cycling, and more. Many of these changes were rolled out at pace, and implemented without consultation with disabled people.  We completely understand that there was an urgency to make changes and that consultation and discussions would have been time consuming however, this road art is of no urgency, costs a considerable amount of money and once again leaves disabled people as an afterthought.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Access Awareness Day 2021

Yep, judging by the title of this post today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day and I thought it would be daft for us not to mention it.

I’m not going to bore you with a long article about how important it is for disabled people to be able to access, well everything, like everyone else, because in this day and age everyone should know that!!

Everyone at Accessible Wales shout about equality and kindness and yet venues still have steps so wheelchair users can’t access a take away coffee, or harsh lighting meaning a visually impaired person can’t read a menu.

Principal Consultant Richard Jones
Principal Consultant Richard Jones

Yes, it could be said that they can ring a bell for a coffee or a menu can be read to them etc. but why should that happen? I love my independence (too much as some of my family and friends would say) and I think it’s important that everyone should have the ability to do things for themselves.

Okay rant over (it’s a passionate subject) but please have a think, as its Global Accessibility Awareness Day, is there anything you can do to help?

There’s more information on the Global Access Awareness Day website You can always read about our access consultancy service on this website.  Or call 01685 810432 for more information.

Thanks for stopping by

Disabled lady paying by card
What are your thoughts on access?

Accessible Wales… in association with the Access Association

Accessible Wales… in association with the Access Association

Accessible Wales… in association with the Access Association

Access Association Member 2020/2021
Access Association Member 2020/2021

Accessible Wales is proud to announce it is a member of the Access Association.  The Access Association is a national network of individuals who are passionate about access and inclusive design.  Their aim is to provide peer support and sharing knowledge.

We has been open for 13 years and as we enter a new phase in our life we are going to be developing our access consultancy service.

Above are just some of the companies and organisations who have benefited from our access service since we opened in 2007.

Richard Jones, Principal Consultant and founder had the following to say:

I am delighted that Accessible Wales has joined the Access Association. We initially opened up with the view to solely looking at access but then there was a desire from our clients for Disability Awareness Training.  I feel that as we move in to the new normal post-Covid, access improvements will be more important than ever.  That is why we want our fingers on the pulse to keep up to date with the latest legislation and best practices. Being a member of the Access Association will allow us to do that.

I’m of the firm belief that access is a right not a privilege and as such we should do all we can to make society more accessible

Over the next four months Accessible Wales will be concentrating on developing the access services currently offered with a view to re-launching it in early 2021.  If you would like to know more about the services offered currently please visit our access consultancy page.

Online Town Centre Accessibility Forum – Aberdare

Online Town Centre Accessibility Forum – Aberdare

Let’s Talk Access

Statue of Caradog surrounded by new COVID19 barriers.
Statue of Caradog surrounded by new COVID19 barriers.

There have been many stories in the media about the potential decline in the town centres throughout the country.  With the current COVID19 restrictions in place people are shopping more online and out of town for convenience and personal safety.

In 2007 Accessible Wales worked with Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority and traders in Mountain Ash to carry out a “Town Centre Access Improvement Project”.  During this project the local authority commissioned Accessible Wales to carry out access audits for those businesses to help them to improve their access for disabled people.

We are now proposing to work with businesses in the eight town centres to help improve access for disabled people.  Starting with an online forum ror businesses based in Aberdare on Thursday 5th November at 10am for more information you can download the flyer here.

Following on from this meeting more events will be scheduled for businesses in Ferndale, Llantrisant, Mountain Ash, Pontypridd, Porth, Tonypandy, Treorchy.  The project will then be evaluated and before rolling out to other local authorities.

This forum will be an opportunity to discuss what each business thinks are the key access issues in their area, and any potential access issues their business may have.

Principal Consultant Richard Jones working in Accessible Wales before lockdown
Principal Consultant Richard Jones working in Accessible Wales before lockdown restrictions

Principal Consultant Richard Jones says:

This is a great opportunity to engage with local businesses in the town centre to help improve access for disabled people.  The online forum will be an independent vehicle to help start to make access improvements in Aberdare, with a view to it being rolled out to the other town centre and beyond.

Now more than ever it is important for small local businesses to do as much as they can to keep their doors open.  We want to do as much as we can to help.

Market Street, Aberdare
Market Street, Aberdare

If you would like to know more about the services we offer please either get in touch with us via 01685 810432Telephone Icon or email info@accessible.wales.

The Glancynon Inn lives on!

The Glancynon Inn lives on!

The Glancynon lives on!

The Glancynon Inn, Hirwaun
The Glancynon Inn, Hirwaun, one of our first access clients

I am delighted to have received a letter today confirming that planning application to knock down the Glancynon has been withdrawn.

As well as being one of our first clients Alun “The Glan” was a close friend and a mentor to me and I know he would be over the moon to know his pride and joy was not at risk of being demolished.

I am glad common sense prevailed and hope this fantastic community facility will thrive under the new management.

Best Wishes

Richard Jones

Principal Consultant

Richard Jones and Wynne Williams (Cymru Healthcare) joined by Alun Evans and Roy Noble at the Launch of Accessible Wales
Richard Jones and Wynne Williams (Cymru Healthcare) joined by Alun Evans and Roy Noble at the Launch of Accessible Wales

World Autism Awareness Day; not all disabilities are visible.

World Autism Awareness Day; not all disabilities are visible.

World Autism Awareness Day; not all disabilities are visible.

Did you know only 8% of people with disabilities use wheelchairs?

Today (2nd of April) is #WorldAutismAwarenessDay and we are proud to say that we are putting the finishing touches on a new training course – An Invisible Disabilities Awareness Training Course.

Can you spot a person with a disability?  Not all disabilities are visible!

This course will, amongst other things, look at the potential stigmas that people with invisible disabilities face as well as looking at the reasonable adjustments that employers can make to help employees with invisible disabilities.

We will be updating our website and social media when our course is completed, however, in the meantime you can find out about the courses we offer here.

Click the hashtag to find out more about #WorldAutismAwarenessDay.

Access Day 2019

Access Day 2019

Access Day 2019

March 16th is National Access Day, as a company we’ve been helping Welsh companies become more accessible since we opened in 2007. To mark National Access Day here are five of the clients who have had access audits/reviews from us over the years.

In homage to National Access Day (and because we’re in a good mood after the rugby) we’re offering 25% off all our access consultancy service during March 2019.

25% off access consultancy service in March 2019
25% off access consultancy service in March 2019

Accessible Wales strengthens links with Cynon Valley Museum

Accessible Wales strengthens links with Cynon Valley Museum

Accessible Wales strengthens links with Cynon Valley Museum

The recently opened Cynon Valley Museum

The recently opened Cynon Valley Museum

Followers of our regular blog posts will know we have a strong history of working with the Cynon Valley Museum. That bond goes back ten years, as they were one of our first clients.

Principal Consultant Richard Jones with Cynon Valley Museum Development Manager Charlotte Morgan

Principal Consultant Richard Jones with Cynon Valley Museum Development Manager Charlotte Morgan

When Accessible Wales’ non-profit arm Accessible News opened in 2008, a disability support surgery called Empower was established in the museum.  This surgery has helped local people on issues ranging from housing to benefits and employment advice.

As part of our 10-year Anniversary,  Accessible Wales is looking at ways to help further local charities and voluntary organisations. The Cynon Valley Museum had recently reopened and is run by a charitable trust.

After meeting with then Chairperson Dinah Pye and Manager Charlotte Morgan, Accessible Wales offered to carry out a detailed access audit free of charge.  For more information on our Access Consultancy Service please click here.

Principal Consultant Richard Jones commented:

“I’m pleased to continue to work with the museum. Organisations like this are a big part of the fabric of an accessible Wales and we want to see the museum thrive by being there for the whole community.  We will help in any way we can to make that happen.”

Accessible Wales has now delivered the Access Review audit to the Museum management and Trustees, and are looking forward to working with staff and volunteers in the future.

Development Manager Charlotte Morgan receiving the Cynon Valley Museum Access Audit

Development Manager Charlotte Morgan receiving the Cynon Valley Museum Access Audit

Development Manager Charlotte Morgan said:

“As a new organisation taking over an existing facility, it has been invaluable to us to work with Accessible Wales, who have been able to help us identify improvements that we can make. We are grateful for their tireless work with us and look forward to doing more in the future to make sure the heritage of the Cynon Valley is accessible for everyone.”

If you run a charity or voluntary organisation and think we could be of help to you then please do not hesitate to get in touch by visiting our contact page.

For more information about the Cynon Valley Museum please visit their Facebook page here.

Accessible Wales’ new clients are Minty Fresh!

Accessible Wales’ new clients are Minty Fresh!
Gentle Dental Practice in Aberdare with Dr Parul Sood and Principal Consultant Richard Jones

Gentle Dental Practice in Aberdare with Dr Parul Sood and Principal Consultant Richard Jones

We are pleased to announce that we are working with Gentle Dental Practice and Maendy Place Dental Practice to improve their accessibility.

These RCT-based dental practices approached us as part of an access improvement scheme through Cwm Taf University Health Board.

Dental practices often face challenges when trying to provide the most accessible service to patients. These challenges include levels and layouts of older buildings including difficult front access and challenging toilet facilities.

Maendy Dental Practice with Practice Practice Manager Deborah James with Principal Consultant Richard Jones

Maendy Dental Practice with Practice Practice Manager Deborah James with Principal Consultant Richard Jones

Accessible Wales is working with both practices to highlight access issues and improve them, resulting in the best possible access standard for patients with a range of disabilities

If you work for a dental practice in the Cwm Taf University Health Board area and would like to take advantage of the grant funding available, contact Alison Green.

If you would like more information on the access improvement services we offer then please visit our Access Services page.

Making Play Areas Accessible

Making Play Areas Accessible
Mia Thorne with Vikki Howells AM and friends at the Play Area Launch

Mia Thorne with Vikki Howells AM and friends at the Play Area Launch

As a disability consultancy company we aim to enhance accessibility around Wales and Wednesday saw us mark the launch of a new accessible play area in Cilfynydd.

Mia officially opening the park

Mia officially opening the park

The inaccessibility of the play area was brought to our attention by Mia Thorne, an inspirational young lady who has a desire to help highlight the inaccessibility that people with disabilities face.  Mia wants to make play areas, housing and education accessible for people with varying disabilities.

Mia and friends with Vikki Howells, Cllr Barrie Morgan, Cllr Ann Crimmings and myself (Richard Jones)

Mia and friends with Vikki Howells, Cllr Barrie Morgan, Cllr Ann Crimmings and myself (Richard Jones)

I am really pleased with the end result of this play area; it’s excellent and very accessible.  This project highlights the importance of joint working, it is a collaboration between ourselves, Mia, officers from Rhondda Cynon Taff council, Vikki Howells AM and councillors Barrie Morgan and Ann Crimmings.

In this day and age it is vitally important to strive towards an inclusive society and people with disabilities are able to use the park with comfort and ease.  With such a positive example of what can be done to help empower people with disabilities we should be encouraging people to use these facilities and not abuse them.  It is important to ensure that these play areas are cared for, Councillor Barrie Morgan says the following:

“If we are investing in our community it is important for the community to invest too.”

I would like to congratulate Rhondda Cynon Taff council on taking accessibility seriously and ensuring that children with disabilities can play too.

Mia and friends on the slide with Vikki Howells, Cllr Barrie Morgan, Cllr Ann Crimmings and myself (Richard Jones)

Mia and friends on the slide with Vikki Howells, Cllr Barrie Morgan, Cllr Ann Crimmings and myself (Richard Jones)