Disability Access Forum celebrates 5th birthday

Hebden Bridge Disability Access Forum celebrated its 5th birthday on 26 September and looks back over its successes over these past five years.

HBDAF has played an important part in member’s lives as described in the following comments: “Being a member of HBDAF, a user-led group, means we all have a voice. We work with businesses and authorities and are listened to.”
“I really valued being part of the early years of HBDAF. I learnt a lot about other disabilities and hopefully contributed a bit. People were so impressive in the way they worked and pooled their efforts.”

Some of HBDAF’s many successes have been:

  • Producing a step-free map of Hebden Bridge with a list of shops and businesses that are wheelchair accessible or have accessible toilets or hearing loops. The map can be downloaded from the internet to make it available for both locals and visitors. An increasing number of establishments have made adaptations so that they are accessible and can be included on the map.
  • Funding from the Community Foundation for Calderdale enabled the Forum to purchase 14 portable ramps to give out to local restaurants and shops so that wheelchair users could enter. Stickers were supplied for the window of the premises to advertise that staff could install a portable ramp.
  • Forum members were involved in site visits and provided information to Network Rail regarding the accessibility changes needed at Hebden Bridge station.
  • The Forum regularly comment on local planning applications, specifically to ensure that there are some accessible houses in any development.
  • The Forum was requested to assist and make a joint site visit with the Environment Agency regarding the 2021 Flood Alleviation works and alternative routes for disabled people whilst the works were underway. Ongoing communication with Calderdale is taking place regarding accessible towpaths through Hebden Bridge.
  • The forum is presently campaigning about the proliferation of advertising¬† ‘A’ boards in Hebden Bridge, which are a hindrance to all pedestrians on Hebden Bridge’s narrow pavements. They particularly hinder disabled people, who may have sight loss, or use a wheelchair or sticks.¬† Other towns such as York, Bradford and Huddersfield have banned ‘A’ boards with no adverse effects. Businesses have found creative ways to advertise by using hanging signs and window and door posters. We continue to lobby Calderdale Council Cabinet members who will be discussing A boards policy in the near future.

The Forum meets by zoom at present due to Covid. The meetings are on the third Monday of the month from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Anyone who wishes to be involved or find out more about the Forum should contact June on 01422 844914 or sechbdisabilityaccess@gmail.com

Added: Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Photos from Hebden Royd