Calderdale Gets Major Accessibility Boost!

Visits Unlimited, a Halifax-based user-led organization, has secured 3 years of funding from the Community Foundation for Calderdale. This exciting development allows them to build upon their successful work. With disabled people, local voluntary groups, and various stakeholders like the local authority, visitor attractions, transport companies, businesses, and Visit Calderdale.

Their ultimate goal is clear: to transform Calderdale into a fully accessible and welcoming environment. In essence, they want everyone, including people with disabilities and their families, to fully enjoy the area and create lasting memories that will make them want to return.

But who exactly are Visits Unlimited?

A leading force in accessibility, Visits Unlimited works collaboratively with tourism industry colleagues, both locally and nationally. Their expertise extends to a comprehensive training and access audit program offered across England. Their impressive roster of clients includes prestigious names like the National Trust, English Heritage, various sports grounds, major tourist attractions, small businesses, theaters, music venues, museums, and hotels.

Locally, Visits Unlimited has already made a significant impact. Funded by a 2015 grant from the Community Foundation for Calderdale, their Accessible Hebden project proved highly successful. Through collaboration with disabled people, they conducted over 40 access audits and surveys on small businesses, empowering them to become more accessible. The positive legacy continues! This project is now an integral part of local strategic work, and the Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum actively promotes accessibility by influencing new planning and designs.

Accessible Calderdale

Firstly Accessible Calderdale is building on this work and will be working across Calderdale. Together with Disability Partnership Calderdale to ensure that we have the voice of disabled people, their families and carers, organisations working with people with a range of impairments to have a say in how the project runs.

“Visits Unlimited have been a catalyst for us on the Hebden Bridge project.  We had identified access issues with our Access Group but just turning up was not good enough. Visits Unlimited did a report on the train station and to have their report under our arm has given strength to our argument every single time we have met and we were able to go to Network Rail and the highway authorities   – it has made a big difference.  I have learned a lot – things I did not know or what was available.” Hebden Bridge Partnership.

 “Our disability survey was extremely useful as we did not appreciate the things that needed doing.  Chris gave us lots of useful simple ideas including even changing the door knob on the toilet facilities that we never thought about.”  Pennine Heritage.

The project has developed two working groups which convened in December 2018, ‘How to get there’ with a focus on accessible transport and ‘Places to go’ which focuses on accessible tourism. The groups will meet four times a year and are integral to the project in developing Calderdale into an accessible and inclusive place.

Calderdale Disability Access Forum

In essence, Visits Unlimited are establishing a Calderdale Disability Access Forum. So any organisation or individual wishing to get involved can contact the project coordinator, Lorraine Beiley.   The group will meet in March 2019. We are delighted to have already made some good alliances with voluntary and community sector. The local authority and Visit Calderdale, and are holding an event at Square Chapel on February 26th 2019. Guest speakers include Visit England, our own Eureka and Accessible Derbyshire.  

#wewelcomeeveryone.   We will be doing free access audits and there will be opportunity for community organisations. To apply for a small grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale.

Contact details

For more information contact or rob@cffc