Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum (HBDAF) has published a map of accessible routes around Hebden Bridge Centre, showing wheelchair friendly pavements, accessible toilets, bus stops and parking spaces. The routes give easy access to people with impaired vision and mobility – around 11% of the population.
The map is available to view or print out from the new Hebden Bridge Business Forum website and will soon appear on other websites. Paper copies are available free from Hebden Bridge Library, Town Hall, Visitor Centre, Valley Medical Centre, Hebden Bridge Station and various shops and cafes.
The back of the map lists many premises which have step-free access (maximum 2.5cm rise for safe wheelchair use), hearing loops and accessible toilets. All research and mapping has been done by HBDAF members and associates, who are disabled people from the Hebden Bridge area. Some of the premises were improved by grants from the 2017 Accessible Hebden project, funded by Community Foundation for Calderdale, CFFC.
HBDAF has also been very busy this year improving access in town by giving out portable ramps thanks to a grant from CFFC.
The first four were issued in February to Just Books, Dragonfly Boutique, Rohan Outdoor and Age UK charity shop, who were all delighted to receive them. A HBDAF member and wheelchair user, who tested the ramps in a powerchair, was thrilled to be able to access a bookshop for the first time for 26 years and immediately bought two books!
Stickers on the shop window indicate they have a portable ramp, and shopkeepers quickly respond to a knock on the window to attract their attention.
HBDAF has continued this project, with ramps now issued to Heart Gallery, Rendezvous Café, the Stubbing Wharf pub, Humblest of Pleasures café and L.T.D boutique, making our lovely town an even more ‘disabled friendly’ place to live, work and visit.
Portable ramps enable wheelchair users, and those unable to manage steps, to access shops, and are an easy and cost-effective way of tackling this barrier to people with mobility impairments.
Enabling access to shops, cafes and other businesses makes sound economic sense too, as the spending power of disabled people in the UK – ‘the Purple Pound’ – is £249 Billion per year according to the DWP!
HBDAF formed in 2016 with the aim of improving access to life in general, in the area. We are grateful to Hebden Royd Town Council and Hebden Bridge Business Forum for support with the map project.
We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01422 844914, and we welcome people with any sort of disability as new members. We meet on the third Monday of each month in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, 2.30pm.