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Caithness group tackles disability issues during Covid

By David G Scott

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A Caithness disability group is seeking funding to help target issues disabled people may be experiencing due to Covid restrictions.

The Caithness Disabled Access Panel (CDAP) consists of a number of volunteers working with the council and other bodies to help improve the living environment for disabled people.

CDAP project officer Louise Smith said: "Living in the current virus situation is difficult for anyone but contemplate the lot of a disabled person – a wheelchair user or a blind person – who wants to grab lunch out and is faced with altered access arrangements.

Helen Budge, left, and Louise Smith from Caithness Disabled Access Panel. Picture: DGS
Helen Budge, left, and Louise Smith from Caithness Disabled Access Panel. Picture: DGS

"The restaurant has carefully considered entrance arrangements with regard to social distancing with customers entering and leaving by different doors. But typically this doesn't work for disabled people, often faced by steps."

Louise said that CDAP is currently seeking funding to "specifically target issues caused by the virus".

The group encourages interested people to contact it to help with accessibility issues at Caithness village and community halls, and other premises, to ensure that steps and access ramps are correctly dealt with to allow access for all.

"While we are working with you we are also happy to signpost you to, and help explain, the government virus guidance and measures."

These can be found at www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/ including guidance for public and customer toilets at www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-and-customer-toilets-guidance .

Local hotels or community buildings where access could be improved can contact Louise by email on louinscot@aol.com or call 07776 225 549.

"We will set up a meeting with you on Zoom or similar, " Louise said. "Should we find that work is required to solve a problem we are keen to keep working with you and help access funding to rectify problems."

CDAP is supported by Foundation Scotland, Greencoat Stroupster Community Fund and Achlachan Wind Farm Community Fund.

The group's chairperson, Helen Budge, said: "We thank our funders for this support which is vital to improve the lives of disabled people in the county."

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