Let’s start off with what accessible means, Google says,
“accessible means a place which can be reached or entered”.
When I go to a new place I get really anxious as I do not know who the people are around me and I have never been to this certain place before. If I am with somebody that I trust then this makes going to new places and meeting new people easier.
Plans are important for me as they help me know what I am going to do or what to expect on the day. If plans change I prefer to know in advance so that I do not get myself in a state of panic.
Things become inaccessible when I’m confused about what is going on, as this makes me feel angry at the world and at myself. It is hard for me to communicate to people sometimes, so this makes day to day life harder as it is hard to see what I need.
I fully understand that sometimes it is hard to know what people’s needs are when they are emotional and not physical, but this means that people can ignore me and not give me the support I need because I am human. When I am able to do things to the fullest, I get really happy and I feel like I have a contribution to make.
The only thing that stands in my way of things being accessible, are society and other people.
Written by Abbie Morl, Published by Dom Palfreman
Written as part of assessing what makes Music Tech Qualifications inaccessible.
Page Turners is a new project starting this April. It is all about the magic of reading and making stories that capture our imagination, accessible, whilst better informing others and ourselves about society and culture.
World Book Day seemed the perfect day to share our new project with each other and to start writing this blog, having a couple of weeks passed we are now ready to share the news with the world!
Thanks to the Clare Milne and Devon Community Foundations, we’re pleased to introduce Page Turners. Page Turners is all about books, reading and story-telling together.
Books can calm us, can make us happy, excited, curious and proud. They can make us laugh and give us hope. We believe everyone should have equal access to the stories that make us feel this way. Not only this, but stories create, shape and reflect our culture. Their power is not insular and closed, but open and has links to everyday life. It is exclusion from this that disables and it is the role of Page Turners to find and remove though barrier.
Page Turners has two parts. One part is about enabling access to the stories everyone should be able to experience, through a book-club held on the second and fourth Thursday evening of each month. Costumes, accents, puppetry, Makaton, dance and song will all be used to make the stories more fun and accessible. The other part of Page Turners is about teaching people that want to learn, to read or to improve their reading.
We will work with local organisations, businesses and anyone with a passion for reading to bring our favourite tales to life (Contact Us to be a part of this!). We will be inviting authors special to us to join Page Turners – maybe to read to us or with us and talk about their own experiences writing and reading. In the future, we will be aiming to write and publish stories and poems that take a Social Model approach. If stories shape our culture, then let’s be the ones that contribute to its shaping.
It is up to everyone to change the world, one page at the time. Many thanks to the Clare Milne Foundation and Devon Community Foundation for helping to turn that page.
Rebecca and Tom are managing Page Turners and throughout March will be planning, ready for the grand opening in April. For news and updates see our webpage: www.theturningtidesproject.org.uk/page_turners.html. If you’d like to be part of Page Turners, email Tom at email@example.com.
We welcome any ideas adding to, changing or developing the current Page Turners logo!
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dom Palfreman
Books, World Book Day, Page, Turners, Equal Access, Very Hardworking, I’ll give you a Hash Tag, Inclusive Access, Book Club, Inclusive, Awesome, Turning Tides, TTTP, The Turning Tides Project, Crediton, Tea Rooms, Coming Soon.
There is much conjecture surrounding equal access in companies and organisations. Many proclaim Social Model readiness in light of a changing society. Yet, as I would come to quickly realize, an environment created on someone’s behalf, without their experience will likely not be equal. Creating truly inclusive facilities and discovering the right amount of support wanted requires discourse with those who want it (or don’t want it, as the case may be). Assumptions and guesses invariably fall short of the realities of people who face unequal access.
Recently we were tasked with writing a questionnaire for a music studio that we had been having some difficulty with, regarding accessing an Open Day. The questions were on the topics of accessibility, support and inclusivity of the course and the facilities. I found this to be an extremely difficult task and required the help of the group with every question; this is only natural - No amount of reflection, introspection, guesswork or hypothesizing will help me when I have never had to fight for my own equal access. I have no personal experience and therefore no reliable knowledge. Of course, I can learn, but I need experts to educate me on their own personal experience – a true first-person perspective.
In initial conversations with the music studio, a member of the marketing team had promised our visit to be fully facilitated and the group welcomed with open arms. They had left and been replaced by a new member of the marketing team, who, in a recent discussion had stated they were “worried about us coming.” I wondered how the studio could go from taking a (possibly) Social Model Approach to not – and not seeking help or asking question to change that. It highlighted the tentative and hazy nature of the idea of an equally accessible environment. What one individual saw as an equal access environment, another did not. It emphasized a lack of knowledge and experience that they, much like me, did not possess and were afraid to explore. Similarly, to how I had benefitted from the knowledge of my experienced teachers, the studio would also clearly gain insight from the group’s visit and could, in turn, use that knowledge to create an environment with improved equal access.
Claiming to have a fully inclusive environment, deemed inclusive by those that have never had any issue with access proves both ironic and problematic. Conversely, not being willing to listen or assuming the environment immediately is not, is just as problematic. The questionnaire was a good start and proved a willingness to engage and listen, but as I have come to realize, there are no halfway marks with equal access and an environment is not equal until those that face the inequality say it is. None the less, the first step is to try – that is the most important part!
Examples such as this highlight the decaying peripheries of unequal access as more and more companies are challenged to reconsider their environments. Companies needn't be worried. There is no universally applicable answer to creating an equal environment and it is understood that it is an issue not solved instantly. Rather, the process is a journey. It is not learnt innately, and neither is it expected to be. What is expected is a conscientious effort towards learning and towards listening to those that have the experience and knowledge, to the experts. Those with first hand personal experience.
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dominic Palfreman
We’ve written a blog about keeping safe from fire. We learnt about it because it’s important to know what to do when a fire starts. Knowing this is an essential part of equal access, as we all can contribute to what’s needed for the company. In this case, fire evacuation posters that are crucial to keeping everyone safe.
Today we took part in fire safety training, delivered by a man called Ian. He showed us a PowerPoint on the different types of fire extinguishers and how they’re used to stop different types of fires, such as electrical, gas and paper. We learnt about the fire triangle of heat, oxygen and fuel and how if you remove one of those parts a fire can’t start.
If a fire does start we know to twist and pull the pin of the fire extinguisher, aim at the base and spray from left to right. With the carbon dioxide extinguisher especially, we know not to touch the nozzle, as what is being sprayed is very cold. Foam extinguishers can put out any fire, but the foam can be hard to clean. To put out small fires, we can also use the fire blanket, but when it has been used once, it can’t be used again. There is one attached to the wall in the Tea Rooms kitchen. To use it, pull both tags down and wrap it around your hands to keep your hands safe.
Ian taught us to always have our back to an exit when putting out a fire. With the Tea Rooms the nearest exit is the front entrance, and is marked by a fire exit sign above and on the door. The first thing to do is alert people to the fire, so they know to head safely to the assembly point. There are two assembly points outside the Tea Rooms, to the left and right. One is by the bus stop, as there are no steps so it is more easily accessible. The other is up the steps to the right, by the grass patch.
Ian showed us pictures of hazards that could cause fires and danger. Some of these, that we know not to do, include blocking the fire exits, padlocking doors and panicking.
We know to take fire drills seriously, what to do in the event of a fire and how to stop a fire from even starting. Ian’s visit was helpful because now we know more - and the more we know, the less likely we are to make mistakes.
Written by Tom Wood, Published by Dom Palfeman