On 4 September, the Accessible Britain Challenge was launched by Mark Harper, Minister of State for Disabled People. Through ongoing resources and initiatives, the Office for Disability Issues' (ODI) vision is for communities to become more inclusive and accessible by engaging and working with disabled people. The Accessible Britain Challenge aims to break down many barriers so disabled people can be full and active contributors in the community.
Disabled people face barriers in their everyday lives that prevent them from being full and active members of their community. The Accessible Britain Challenge wants to encourage communities to become more inclusive and accessible, and provide a fairer and more equal society by reducing discrimination and disadvantages for everyone.
There are 12.2 million disabled people in the UK, who make a positive contribution to employment and local economies. Although there has been significant progress in some communities to make them inclusive and accessible, there is evidence to show that progress is patchy.
To support the Challenge and showcase good practice, the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) has created and will promote an online resource pack bringing together case studies, tools, guidance, and best practice on inclusive and accessible communities. The English Federation of Disability Sport was keen to share some of the national charity's work and the Inclusive Communications Guide is among the better practice examples to support others. You can find it in this section of The Challenge.
The campaign defines an inclusive and accessible community as one that:
One of the key objectives of the campaign is to encourage organizations to engage and work in partnership with disabled people and groups to help break down the barriers. These barriers prevent disabled people from fulfilling potential, as well as living full and independent lives. The resources support others to design and deliver solutions that make communities more inclusive and accessible.
The Challenge also presents organizations with a great opportunity to showcase and promote the work they are carrying out in their local communities which go beyond their statutory duties. This includes any initiatives carried out with local Disabled People's Organizations or groups.
If you would like to share your own better practice, you can send details of examples to the email address found at the end of this article.
The campaign also intends to publicly recognize communities that are making a difference in the form of awards. Details of the awards and how nominations can be made will be provided in due course.
Who is the Challenge aimed at
We all have a key role to play in helping to make communities inclusive and accessible. But, communities are built by individuals, groups and organizations working together at a local level. In this respect engaging with disabled people and working with them to design solutions is key to making a difference to their everyday lives. The Challenge is therefore aimed at all parts of communities, organizations and individuals alike.
Practical support for the Challenge:
There is a growing recognition of the very positive contribution that nearly 12.2 million disabled people provide in terms of employment and vibrant local economies.
The Challenge aims to build on this by harnessing, showcasing and sharing the initiatives and good practices that already exist.
Accessible Britain Challenge online resource tool:
To support the Challenge and exemplify and showcase good practice, the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) has created and will promote an online resource bringing together guidance, case studies, toolkits and good practice on inclusive and accessible communities.
Accessible Britain Challenge: aims and objectives:
The plan is to publicly recognize those organizations in communities that are making a difference in the form of awards. The Office for Disability Issues is developing arrangements for these, which are likely to be under the broad categories of:
Details of the awards process and to make how nominations will be circulated in the Autumn.
How can you get involved
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to contribute your own material, or share it on Twitter using the hashtag #accessiblebritain
The Accessible Britain Challenge
6-12 Tothill Street
It is hoped that by raising the profile of the positive contribution that disabled people make to communities, we will all help to change attitudes and behaviors towards disabled people.