So, the first year of the brilliant Accessible Calderdale project is already over! Bring on the second!

Discovering Accessible Calderdale

Accessible Calderdale has been consistently absorbing and incredibly varied this year. Massive plans, big ideas, and selfless individuals are making remarkable strides towards inclusivity and accessibility. My role as an Access Auditor has allowed me to witness these efforts firsthand and support numerous voluntary projects. Hopefully, my advice, backed by funding from the Community Foundation for Calderdale, will help these projects realise their dreams. Here’s a summary of the high points, interesting people, and fascinating twists and turns from the past year.

Memorable Audits and Projects

Puzzle Hall Inn in Sowerby Bridge

One of the most memorable experiences was visiting the Puzzle Hall Inn in Sowerby Bridge. The sheer excitement of being rolled backwards down a 45° slope in my wheelchair to see the progress will linger long in my mind. This build looks like a fantastic idea, and I can’t wait to attend a concert there when it opens. It promises to be a great accessible venue.

Fire and Water Renovation

Just a little further down the road, the ambitious Fire and Water renovation project is underway. This massive endeavour doesn’t seem to faze anyone involved. I was particularly fascinated by the basement, currently storing the Rush Cart and the Golden Goose plus eggs. The dedication and hard work behind this project are truly inspiring.

Community Engagements and Unique Experiences

Cornholme Community Area

The Cornholme Community area offered the largest selection of teas and infusions I’ve ever seen in one spot. It’s a testament to the community’s vibrant and welcoming spirit.

Sowood Preschool

Sowood Preschool stood out with some of the nicest kids I’ve met in a long while. They were so concerned about my ability to access their playground but found an alternative way to ensure I could join them. Their kindness was heartwarming.

Luddenden Foot

Luddenden Foot provided the best tea and toast amidst their vibrant playgroup. It’s small gestures like these that highlight the community’s commitment to inclusivity and hospitality.

Embracing the Great Outdoors

Cromwell Bottom Canal Walk

Exploring the Calderdale countryside was another highlight. The canal walk at Cromwell Bottom and the site of a proposed viewing platform, now under construction, was a memorable experience. Nature’s beauty coupled with efforts to make it accessible is commendable.

Jerusalem Farm

Witnessing kingfishers at Jerusalem Farm after a glorious walk was another standout moment. The serene environment and ongoing projects to enhance accessibility make it a must-visit spot.

Beechwood Park and Riding School for the Disabled

Planning a sensory garden at Beechwood Park and petting the horses at the Riding School for the Disabled were other notable experiences. These projects exemplify how Accessible Calderdale is making the outdoors more inclusive.

Unexpected and Delightful Discoveries

St Augustine’s Centre

An unexpected curry at St Augustine’s Centre was a delightful surprise. The centre’s dedication to accessibility and inclusivity is truly impressive.

Blackley and Wainsgate Chapels

The beautiful Baptist Chapels at Blackley and Wainsgate were other gems. Their historical significance and efforts towards accessibility make them important cultural landmarks.

Skillshop Hydrotherapy Pool

The brilliant hydrotherapy pool amongst the fascinating outbuildings at the Skillshop was another highlight. It’s a fantastic facility that significantly contributes to accessibility in Calderdale.

Connecting with the Community

Halifax Minster and The Hive

Discussing ancestry at Halifax Minster and sharing hippy reminiscences at The Hive over a cup of tea were other enriching experiences. These interactions highlighted the community’s inclusive and welcoming nature.

Overgate Hospice Boutique

A period of rest and relaxation in the sophisticated Overgate Hospice Boutique with another cup of tea was the perfect end to a fulfilling day. The boutique’s serene environment is a testament to Accessible Calderdale’s commitment to inclusivity.

Looking Forward to 2020

So, what will 2020 bring? Whatever it is, it will be unexpected and brilliant, showcasing the best of human nature. I’ll keep you informed as Accessible Calderdale continues to evolve and inspire.

Next up, I’m heading to Rokt in Brighouse to advise on their rock-climbing facility. Rock climbing and wheelchair accessibility – really? Watch this space!

Chris Cammiss

Access Auditor