English Heritage is taking active steps towards making our properties more accessible for disabled people. We take the view that the best people to tell us what works and what doesn’t in terms of enjoying the historic environment are disabled people themselves. At Witley Court we invited a group of local disabled people to audit the property, feeding back by producing a training DVD used for all Visitor Operations staff training. At Kenilworth, another group of disabled people looked at the signage all around the property, and their recommendations will be fed into new guidance when we commission new signage.
The major new development has been the commissioning of Scope to draw up a comprehensive access audit template working with many well-known disability equality and access consultants, as well as a focus group of disabled people. This will allow us, over a period of five years, to assess all our properties for their physical, sensory and intellectual access barriers, and begin a programme of prioritised access improvements. To accompany this, a new Access Policy outlining exactly what every visitor can expect from English Heritage Properties has been created. (See link below).