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Making accessible information available to all

Making accessible information available to all

Last month, during Learning Disability Week, Mencap highlighted how people with a learning disability should be seen, heard and valued, given the opportunity to develop confidence to thrive and feel equal in society.

Connecting Ripon Network member, Ripon Disability Forum (RDF), is a local charity working to improve access for all. Forum members recognise that many local businesses have good accessible features, without even realising it. Whilst a ramp is the most obvious sign of being accessible it is not the only sign and, for some businesses, is not a practical option. However, this does not stop them being accessible to many other forms of disability.

Older buildings are harder to adapt and planning rules can be restrictive if in a conservation zone. A ramp cannot block pavement access and not all toilets are adaptable.

After a long but successful RDF campaign, every business in the city centre will soon be able to advertise close access to a new Changing Places toilet in Ripon centre.

What is often missed is that the best accessible feature is open and honest information that allows those with disabilities to make an informed and secure choice about where they want to spend their money. An option for all organisations is also good customer service, with a warm welcome and positive attitude to helping someone overcome any issues.  

RDF trustee, Jeremy Dunford, said: ‘Disability is not a product of a condition, age or injury, it is a result of barriers in the environment. Each barrier removed reduces disability and the first and most important barrier is lack of open and honest information.’

Working with North Yorkshire Council and local BID teams (including Ripon BID), RDF is looking to create a county wide logo for use by organisations to show they are committed to sharing their information in an easily accessible way.

This doesn’t mean that improvements cannot be made, and organisations are encouraged, when they plan refurbishments or new literature, to factor in accessibility as part of planned work and expenditure.

Nimbus Disability have agreed that RDF can use their materials to offer free training locally. The Forum is working with businesses and organisations to help promote their accessible features, sharing existing cheap and free models, as well as developing an entirely free, local model. Copyright free icons and individual support to organisations will soon be offered, to identify their own accessible features to share openly on websites and social media.

Whilst the local model is being developed, organisations can get started using existing resources, as Connecting Ripon members Ripon Museums Trust and the National Trust at Fountains Abbey have already done. 

Find accessibility resources here 

If you, or your organisation, would like to find out more please contact 

If you are interested in joining the Forum as a member please also email for more details or follow Ripon Disability Forum on Facebook

Photo: Jeremy and Daniel, trustees of Ripon Disability Forum