Fair4All with Building Futures

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Building Futures has worked with Buckinghamshire Disability Service to put together a Fair4All workshop. This workshop was aimed at organisations, to educate them in considering the impact of poor accessibility when planning and organising events.  

The workshop proved to be a fantastic opportunity for Building Futures’ volunteers to come together to better the understanding of employers and organisations in the local community about the needs of those with disabilities or physical impairments.

Bud’s is a charity that advocates the needs of all disability groups, and works with disabled volunteers on a number of projects throughout the calendar year.

Benny Hutton is a Bud’s volunteer, but also a participant on the Building Futures program. Benny was introduced to Bud’s to take part in volunteering opportunities. Benny, a wheel chair user worked with a number of the Bud’s volunteers to put the event together as a way to highlight their needs to the community. Benny arranged a number of tasks for the event himself, including the caterers.

 The workshop began with some of the attendees being given particular items to wear throughout the workshop that would simulate a number of restricted physical   conditions such as a bad back, arthritis, deafness and other disabilities. Even before the attendees sat down to partake in the workshop, entering the venue was deliberately restricted with tape over the door. This meant all attendees were unconsciously put in the position of someone with a disability having to negotiate their way through a door way with limited access.

Up next was the guest speaker - 2012 Paralympic Gold Medalist, Naomi Riches, who gave a talk on her disability and the inspiring way she used her disability as a strength, eventually leading her to win a gold Olympic medal in 2012.

After the break Naomi took some photos with all the attendees and the organisers before she left for her next engagement.

Up next the participants were asked to simulate a few scenarios often experienced by people with disabilities such as wheel chair access in and around buildings and the logistics of people with vision impairment. This proved to be a very hands on task where the participants worked in pairs and swapped roles within the exercise.

Lastly there was a presentation from Ruth Page from Bucks County Council speaking about how the council plan their events by considering accessibility issues. This proved to be very inspiring for the attendees and gave them plenty of ideas and suggestions for planning their own accessibility-friendly events.

Overall it was a great event put together well by the volunteers. The training was excellent, as were the presentations. Building Futures hopes that it will make all attendees stop and think about the needs of those with disabilities when organising events and shows in the future.

Building Futures is part of the Building Better Opportunities Programme funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund that has supported over 400 participants in Buckinghamshire to move closer to learning or work. Building Futures works with adults and young people across Buckinghamshire to provide free one-to-one guidance and support to help individuals choose the right path to training, work experience or a job that works for the person. The Programme can also help with other life-skills and health and wellbeing solutions that will ensure the individual take control of his/her life and move forward in a positive way.

Sharon Brown