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Devon heritage attractions now equipped to welcome more disabled visitors

Three heritage attractions in Devon can now welcome more disabled visitors through their doors than ever before.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Kents Cavern, and Seaton Wetlands have introduced Accessibility Matters products to help improve accessibility for disabled and Deaf visitors.

The products were developed by the Accessibility Matters team at Living Options Devon, in partnership with each of the sites. These help disabled visitors enjoy their visit by feeling more included. 

The written tools help to ensure disabled visitors receive information in a format that aids their understanding. We also provided mobility equipment to help people access outdoor sites which they may have previously been unable to visit.

We developed these solutions after discussions with the disabled community on specific conditions and the barriers they face when visiting heritage sites. The products included: BSL Tours, Easy Read Guides, Online Visual Guides, Large Print Guides, as well as Disability Awareness training for staff and volunteers. Seaton Wetlands also received an all-terrain scooter as part of the project.

  • BSL tours for Deaf BSL users – consist of several short film clips, presented by a volunteer BSL signer. The BSL tours are then transferred onto a tablet, which can then be used by visitors as they walk around the site. They are also uploaded to the Heritage Ability YouTube channel for viewing on personal devices.
  • Easy Read Guides are created to help people with learning disabilities understand more complex information presented at the sites. The guide is written using a simple ‘Easy Read’ format and supported with images to help clarity. The guides also include activities and points of interest.
  • The Online Visual Guides are also now available to view on each of the heritage site’s websites. These guides are primarily aimed at autistic people and visitors with complex needs. They were created to enable visitors to plan their visits in advance, helping to reduce stress and anxiety on the day.
  • Large Print guides are aimed at people with visual impairments to help them see the information more clearly. These guides use many techniques to help people that suffer from Macular Degeneration or Glaucoma to view the information presented at the sites.
  • Staff and volunteers at the attractions were also given Disability Awareness training to help them understand how to engage better with disabled visitors. It also enabled them to identify different tools available on site that could help improve accessibility for disabled visitors.
  • Mobility scooter (called a Tramper) for Seaton Wetlands, as it has large external areas of parkland. The Tramper was introduced to help visitors with permanent or temporary mobility issues travel around the park and see areas previously inaccessible to them.

Kents Cavern

Our Accessibility Matters team created a British Sign Language (BSL) tour on a tablet for Kents Cavern. We also create a Visual Tour which enables adults and children who are autistic to be more comfortable when visiting the site. Visual Tours help autistic people to prepare for visiting a site as some autistic people are uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.

“We’ve had great feedback from BSL users about being able to use the tablet in the cave. We’ve also had feedback from parents and teachers of autistic children that have praised the Visual Story for helping their children to prepare for their underground visit.” 

Elliot Ling, Education Officer at Kents Cavern

Kents Cavern

Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM)

Our Accessibility Matters team provided RAMM with accessibility consultancy services to help them develop fully accessible tours of the museum. RAMM took advantage of our ‘Critical Friend’ service which provided friendly advice and helped them develop accessible information for visitors.

“We are keen to share the city’s treasures with everyone. The Heritage Ability project has provided expert guidance and the impetus to expand our offer and make RAMM even more accessible to Disabled and Deaf BSL users. It’s all about listening to visitors, consulting experts, finding a balance and providing options to suit the widest possible range of needs. We are committed to this as an ongoing process and grateful to Heritage Ability for being a critical friend, identifying needs, giving sound advice and helping to produce the materials that disabled and Deaf BSL users have asked for.”  

Camilla Hampshire, Royal Albert Memorial Museum Manager

Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM)

Seaton Wetlands – East Devon District Council

Our Countryside Mobility scheme provided one of our Tramper mobility scooters to Seaton Wetlands. The Tramper now provides visitors with mobility issues full access to the park.

We also created a British Sign Language (BSL) tour on the tablet for Seaton Wetlands. This provides information on this beautiful site to Deaf visitors who use BSL. 

“We are proud to be part of this project and have seen the improvements on site make such a valuable difference to visitors. The pre-visit information is first class, and we can now offer improved access allowing more people to enjoy their visit. I encourage everyone to visit Seaton Wetlands in the future. It is probably now one of the most accessible nature reserves in the South West”.

Tim Dafforn, Countryside Team Leader for East Devon District Council (that manages Seaton Wetlands)

Seaton Wetlands

Get in touch

We offer bespoke quotes for individual pieces of work, accessibility products, training, and consultancy. Please get in touch to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

Accessibility Matters is part of the Living Options Devon charity. You can contact our team at the Living Options HUB. 

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Living Options Devon

Living Options Devon offers a range of support services for disabled people and members of the Deaf community where British Sign Language is their first language. When using our business services, you are supporting our charity. All profits go directly to supporting our beneficiaries across the southwest of England. More about us.