This week I would like to highlight the work of the Eastbourne Access Group, who are looking for some more help locally.
When I began to set up the Eastbourne Volunteers project I wanted to make sure that the project would be accessible to everyone, no matter what their abilities. Very early on in the project I was contacted by Ian, Chairman of the EAG to ask if we could put accessibility information on our website for all of the clubs, groups and organisations we were documenting. Of course, I agreed that this was a great idea, and since then I have regularly been in touch with the group to get advice on accessibility. You can see the results on our website at www.eastbournevolunteers.co.uk where we have an accessibility statement describing the measures we have taken. Some measures like our wheelchair ramp have a cost implication but a lot of the actions to make the project more accessible have cost nothing and just required a little advice and research. Councilors in Meads ward have been fantastic and funded both our ramp and hearing loop. In Eastbourne we are lucky to have groups like Inclusive Eastbourne and the EAG to help make everything more accessible. There are no excuses!
The Eastbourne Access Group consists of a small number of members, each with a different disability or interest. Together with representatives from Eastbourne Borough Council they seek to represent the people who live with the daily problems disability presents and help focus the public and private sector on efforts to make things easier. They meet at St Saviour’s Church Hall, South Street, BN21 4UT on the fourth Wednesday of the month, 9.45-11.45 am.
Eastbourne Borough Council uses the Access Group as an official source of advice about Access matters. On occasion our members are asked to sit on relevant council working groups and to address meetings. The group also has representatives on the Eastbourne Disability Involvement Group (EDIG) and works closely with other groups and charities within the town.
They also produce the Eastbourne Access Guide for Disabled People which contains guidance on places, spaces and information around Eastbourne, wheelchair route maps and useful contacts. You can find the latest edition on their website at www.eastbourneaccessgroup.org.uk
The EAG need more volunteers and if you are passionate about equal access for all then perhaps you could get involved? Have you got administration skills you could offer? Perhaps you could help them to develop their website? IT support is particularly welcome but the group also needs volunteers to distribute the access guide. Do you have PR skills you could offer? The group needs help to raise the profile of the club through events, partnership working in the community and links with local media. Even a few hours a month would be helpful, and roles could be split between several people. You could even volunteer from home!
If you could offer your support and volunteer for them please contact the chairman by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07810 317185.