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Home » CAE’s access & sustainability service helps forty London charities in 2023

CAE’s access & sustainability service helps forty London charities in 2023

by Leah Llano

Inclusive design and access consultancy, Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), has increased its reach by 33% to support forty of London’s third sector organisations to be more inclusive through free training and advice, and in the past year, in its efforts to make London more inclusive.

CAE provides access and inclusion expertise via its Access and Sustainability Advisory Service (ASAS) to a range of organisations spanning theatres, places of worship, museums, community centres, heritage buildings and sports facilities on behalf of City Bridge Foundation.

The service offers guidance on enhancing access to buildings and provides support for groups applying for City Bridge Foundation’s Inclusive Services and Better Access Grant.

The grant offers up to £5,000 for access consultancy, including disability awareness training, with opportunities to subsequently apply for up to £150,000 in funding towards access improvements.

Over the past year, ASAS has welcomed 40 charities and not-for-profits eager to learn and implement accessibility improvements, increasing from 30 from the previous year.

Caroline Day, co-chair of Comms at East London Waterworks Park, recently attended the ASAS training, Managing Access and Inclusion, and said she found it valuable.

She said: “It was clearly presented and insightful. What I appreciated most was the training was led by a disabled person who had overcome barriers to inclusion themselves, echoing some of my own experiences.

“Using my personal perspective as someone with multiple invisible disabilities, in combination with the learning from this training, has influenced making East London Waterworks Park’s branding more accessible within our communications. It will contribute to our inclusive co-design of the park.”

CAE ASAS Advisor Asa Hems manages the service day-to-day and leads the training. He uses his own experience as a wheelchair user to demonstrate access needs.

Asa says: “The goal is to empower London charities and community groups to create spaces that are welcoming and accessible to everyone. The increase in attendance at the training sessions shows that there is a desire to improve accessibility. It just comes down to the funding available, which City Bridge Foundation can also help with.

“I try to keep the sessions really relaxed. By giving examples of my own accessibility barriers as a wheelchair user, it helps people better understand disability and inclusive design. I think that helps people want to commit to improving the accessibility in their premises further.”

CAE, which is part of Habinteg Housing Association, will be running ASAS training sessions throughout the year. They encourage any London-based charities and not-for-profit community groups to get in touch if they are interested in making their premises more accessible.

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