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Accessible heritage sites for all

About

Our vision is:
As a result of Heritage Ability, disabled and Deaf people with their families and friends will have meaningful, inspiring and life-enriching engagements with the South West’s rich and varied heritage.  The region’s heritage sector will be supported to develop a sustainable disability and Deaf friendly culture, improve their visitor experiences and become more resilient.

The South West of England has an astounding variety of heritage ranging from iconic landscapes such as the Jurassic coast and the rugged beauty of Dartmoor and Exmoor to the Georgian grandeur of Bath and bustling coastal towns and villages. People visiting heritage sites come to relax and spend time together; to learn about wildlife; nature conservation; the environment; history and human stories that have shaped the landscape and built heritage over thousands of years. 

We strongly believe this heritage and the experience it can provide should be accessible to everyone.   However, this is certainly not the case at the moment.  Although there are beacons of excellence and many examples of good practice, for most disabled people and Deaf people, the heritage that the rest of the population takes for granted can be a struggle to access.

Changing this situation across the huge diversity of the region’s heritage sites cannot be done overnight.   The Heritage Ability project will therefore target 20 sites across the South West during 2017-20 and work with these closely to generate change.  These sites will then act as exemplars and role models which demonstrate what can be done and the value of a community-led approach.  By 2020 Heritage Ability aims to be a self-sustaining operation in the region, working with a new collection of sites and extending the benefits more widely.