Our motto is “Making Places, Spaces and Information Accessible to Disabled People”. Better access and information for temporary or permanently disabled people benefits everyone whether they are a resident, visitor, parent with young children, elderly or a person with mobility problems, carer, and the list can go on.
We meet monthly to discuss access issues and develop projects to assist in our campaigns. You may see us around town in the Arndale Centre, Langney Shopping Centre or other community event with our display boards and information. This is where we hear people's issues first hand and try to assist them.
One of our main ongoing projects is the Eastbourne Guide for Disabled People that is freely available to everyone from the Tourist Information Centre, libraries, Shopmobility in the Arndale Centre and many other locations around the town. The guide contains useful information on accessible services from buses and trains to theatres and accessible toilets. The group is especially proud of its 'Wheelchair Routes' that show the best paths for users of wheeled mobility aids through the town and where there are dropped kerbs and road crossings.
The Disability Today column is the group's newest project, the monthly articles are written by members and associates to raise disability awareness in the local community and to give an insight into what it is like day to day living with a disability or impairment and show some of the local groups that give fantastic support to individuals or groups.
The group's website and Facebook page are regularly updated and allow more current information to be displayed than the guide itself. The website www.eastbourneaccessgroup.org.uk contains a downloadable copy of the Eastbourne Guide for Disabled People with the group's Email link providing interactivity for computer and Smartphone users.
The Access Group has also been actively involved in raising disability awareness issues with local councillors. Some councillors have ridden mobility scooters to experience firsthand the challenges faced with crossing roads, uneven pavements and the difficulties of shopping for the less mobile.
The group works with other local organisations to increase awareness, for example with Hearing Link's 'Let's Loop Eastbourne' campaign promoting the installation of more hearing loops in commercial premises for the benefit of hearing aid users.
There are Access Groups throughout the country generally supported by local authorities but independently financed by their own fundraising activities with Eastbourne being no different. We have representatives from the local council, Cllr Janet Coles, Disability Champion and Access Officer, Mirka Kitti, attending the group and providing an important direct link between the two parties.
We welcome new members and supporters. If you would prefer to do something constructive rather than merely endure frustration about accessibility issues, we would like to hear from you.