Bill has recently set up York Access Hub and is here to tell us a bit more about it:
“I’ve been disabled with ME for the last fifteen years, after a long army career and working in various businesses around York. I also used to run Marathons, coach a youth football team and was active in archery, badminton and had many other interests.
When I got ME, I had to stop work and once I found out how prevalent ME was in York I set up The York ME Community which now has a membership of over two hundred people!
I soon began to get an understanding of the difficulties of day to day life with a disability, having gone from being so very fit and active to needing a mobility scooter to get around !
Recently, a lot has happened in York to make disabled residents and visitors feel unwelcome, for example the extension of the footstreets and resultant exclusion of Blue Badge holders.
Despite all this, I wanted to show that York is still a welcoming place. It’s true that many buildings in York don’t lend themselves to being physically accessible but so many could be with a little thought and imagination. In turn this would enhance the experiences of York’s disabled visitors.
Businesses have had a difficult time of late, and with around 20% of the population living with a disability, it would make sense if we could find out which York businesses are accessible and promote them. In turn, this can only encourage more visitors to the city centre and improve income for York’s businesses. My hope is that it becomes a great one stop shop when planning a trip into town, whether from the local area or further afield.
My idea was to have a website where businesses can advertise for free, so long as they explain how accessible they are and in what ways they are accessible. Accessibility doesn’t just mean having a ramp as Elki explained recently on Make It York’s blog.
The York Access Hub is now up and running, and I’m happy to say that a number of businesses have come on board, but of course there’s room for plenty more!
As well as being useful for York locals, I’m also advertising it across the country so that anyone looking to visit York can plan ahead. With information about where they might want to stay, what attractions to check out as well as blue badge parking and where to find an accessible loo the hope is that it’ll prove to be a great resource.
These are early days, but I’m encouraging more businesses to join up and provide a real benefit both to them and our visitors.”
Whether you’re a disabled person or a business, head over to The York Access Hub to find out more, or follow them on social media: