Opportunity for borough businesses to improve accessibility and inclusivity

Published: Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Oadby & Wigston Borough Council (OWBC) is looking to work with 30 local businesses to help the borough become a more accessible and inclusive destination for visitors and shoppers.

The new project will allow businesses, shops, visitor attractions and similar across the borough to work with expert advisors AccessAble, who have partnered with OWBC.

AccessAble will develop individual business Access Guides and promote them via the AccessAble website and mobile app. The guides look at ‘access’ and ‘disability’ from lots of different perspectives – mobility impairment, learning disability, sensory impairment, dementia, and mental health.

Last year the AccessAble website had over five million unique users with over eight million Access Guides used. Access Guides give incredibly detailed accessibility information, meaning disabled people can find out in advance what they would need to visit a venue, or if they can go.

Having a guide on a website can also mean visitors are more confident of visiting as they know of any challenges in advance and can prepare accordingly.

The 30 businesses taking part in the Oadby & Wigston initiative will have an Access Guide created by AccessAble and hosted online. Businesses interested in taking part are being encouraged to contact the council’s team at ukspf@oadby-wigston.gov.uk

This initiative has been able to go ahead thanks to funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).

Cllr Lee Bentley, Deputy Leader of OWBC and Chair of the Local UKSPF Partnership Group, said: “Uncertainty about the accessibility of businesses and venues is a barrier to many disabled people, who can feel isolated by the lack of information available.

“We’re delighted to be using UKSPF funding to break down these barriers by partnering up with AccessAble so that up to 30 businesses can have an Access Guide created for them and posted online.

“The data proves that these guides are well-used and of huge benefit to those with disabilities. There are 30 spots available so it’s important businesses that want to get involved get in touch as soon as possible.”