A Harrogate charity’s drive to make the town more accessible for disabled people has taken a step forward, thanks to a National Lottery Community Grant.
A £9,000 donation from the organisation has enabled Disability Action Yorkshire to employ Josh McCormack as its first Think Access Co-Ordinator, whose job will be helping town centre businesses to become more accessible to all.
Josh, who will be based at the charity’s Hornbeam Park head office and training centre, will undertake accessibility audits and advise firms on disability training.
Its “Think Access” campaign – supported by Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council Harrogate Chamber of Trade and organisations including Transdev and Harrogate Town – aims to make Harrogate a more accessible town for disabled people, which in turn will help boost the local economy.
Across the UK, the Purple Pound – the consumer spending power of disabled people and their families – is worth £249 billion and is rising by an average of 14 per cent a year.
Jackie Snape, Chief Executive at Disability Action Yorkshire, said: “Our vision is that the Harrogate District becomes truly accessible with no barriers or obstacles to any person.
“We appreciate that this will be a long-term approach which will require commitment over many years, but if today everyone started to ‘think access’ great things could be achieved.
“Thanks to a National Lottery grant we have been able to take on Josh to become our Think Access co-ordinator. We are delighted to be adding him to our team and he brings a great deal of experience to this role.”
Josh said: “I’m really looking forward to taking on this role within Disability Action Yorkshire.
“Having a disability myself, accessibility is something that is very close to my heart. Whilst many businesses want to become accessible, sometimes they just don’t know what is required to achieve this.
“I am here to offer that advice and show them that it can be achieved with sometimes no or little very cost to themselves.”
Josh attended Harrogate Grammar School to earn his A-Levels, before going on to achieve a BA in Education and Disability Services at Sheffield Hallam University.
From there, Josh has gained over four years of experience working with both disabled children and adults, working at Ripley Primary School and then People Matters Leeds.
Established in 1937, Disability Action Yorkshire for over 80 years has provided quality services and opportunities for disabled people, so that they can live the lifestyle of their choosing.