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Change a Little Change a Lot Accessibility Awards Launched
Applications are now being accepted for an awards programme, which aims to improve access for people with disabilities in the North West.
The Change a Little, Change a Lot Accessibility Awards encourage businesses, non-profits and statutory agencies in Donegal and Strabane to open their doors to people with disabilities by making incremental changes in policy, communications, attitude and the physical environment.
13% of the population in the Republic of Ireland has a disability, while this figure is marginally higher in Northern Ireland at 17.4%.
One man who has embraced accessibility with both hands is business owner Anthony Kernan. “When people ask me why I employ people with disabilities, I say, ‘why not.’ The benefits far outweigh any perceived challenges. I would encourage everyone to embrace accessibility with both hands. It has a ripple effect on your business, your staff and your customers. It’s simply good for business.”
Kernan's Eurospar with four outlets in Co. Donegal employs over 100 people, 10% of whom have a disability. Kernan's is a previous national winner in the O2 Ability Awards and is currently a campaign ambassador of the Change a Little, Change a Lot Accessibility Awards.
The campaign is being spearheaded by the Community Awareness Programme and jointly supported by Strabane District Council, Donegal County Council, Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Health Service Executive. Funding for the project has been provided by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, secured by Co-operation and Working Together’s (CAWT) Citizenship Project.
Madge Toye Temple, Project Leader with the Citizenship Project’s Community Awareness Programme says, “We are calling on organisations who want to make change happen to get involved. It’s free, it’s good for business and it embraces equality and opportunity for all. The partnership approach is what makes this programme unique.”
The programme is open to all organisations in the Strabane District Council area and the border areas of Donegal which are: Killea, Carrigans, St. Johnston, Newtowncunningham, Manorcunningham, Raphoe, Convoy, Castlefinn, Killygordon, Lifford, Letterkenny, Drumkeen, Ballybofey, Stranorlar and Cloghan.
Participating organisations will get free consultation and support along the way from ADAPT, a specialist accessibility training company and be awarded formal certification. They will also be profiled in local media for their actions with a free marketing package from Media Box.
An independent Advisory Committee will decide on the allocation of all awards. At the end of the campaign, eight Change a Little, Change a Lot Accessibility Awards sector winners will be chosen with one overall winner announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony in May 2013.
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