Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum (HBDAF) has recently given out two more portable ramps thanks to a grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC). Ramps have now been issued to Quercus restaurant in St George’s Square, and Blue Japanese Street Food on New Road. This brings the total number of ramps given out in Hebden Bridge to fourteen, making our lovely town an even more ‘disabled friendly’ place to live, work and visit.
Stickers on the shop/cafe windows indicate they have a portable ramp, and staff quickly respond to a knock on the window to attract their attention, so that wheelchair users and others who can’t manage the step can use the ramp to get in.
HBDAF is also in the process of making improvements to the accessible toilet facilities in the White Lion Hotel, Bridge Gate and in Hebden Therapy Centre, providing additional support rails.
These improvements will use the last of our remaining funds granted by CFFC from the Accessible Hebden Bridge project, which was carried out by Visits Unlimited in 2016 and 2017, and brought about some major improvements in access around Hebden Bridge, reflected in our long list of premises with step-free access, accessible toilets and hearing loops.
Improving access for the thousands of disabled people who live in Calderdale makes good business 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 published a map of accessible routes around Hebden Bridge Centre in June 2018, showing wheelchair friendly pavements, accessible toilets, bus stops and parking spaces. The map and back page guide to accessible premises was updated in October and is available to view or print out here and various 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.
Additions to the Step – Free guide since the June edition include Chapter 17 bar and restaurant, Valli Opticians, Welcome Independent Living, Overgate Charity, Hebthread and Venus Nails. Blue and Quercus will be added to the next update now that they are accessible by the new portable ramps. We aim to update the guide twice a year.
HBDAF formed in 2016 with the aim of improving access to life in general, in our area. We are passionate about all sorts of issues including rail and bus travel, housing and planning issues, benefits advice and information, noise affecting those with autism and neurological impairments, and mental health support, as well as day-to-day physical access in the area. We have around 30 members (but smaller meetings).
We are a working group of Hebden Royd Town Council. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01422 844914, and we are very keen to welcome new members with any sort of disability. We meet on the third Monday of each month in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, 2.30pm. Next meeting 21st January 2019. Please join us.