Working in partnership to hold a successful event

case studies, 2016, wheelchair users, transport, East Sussex, England

Working in partnership to hold a successful event

Victoria Garcia is the Accessibility and Communities Officer at Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus, this year they got involved in Disabled Access Day for the first time. Holding events in their travel shops in Brighton and Crawley, they raised awareness of the different accessible services they offer. We caught up with Victoria to find out more about how they worked with other local organisations to put on a successful event.

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I work for a bus operator and we aim to make our services accessible for all so that we can help people live independent and active lives.

We share the same goals as Euan's Guide. It made perfect sense therefore to play our part in Disabled Access Day and get involved in the national celebration with them.

We hosted two events at our travel shops based in Crawley and Brighton, and worked in partnership with Guide Dogs, Age UK, Action on Hearing Loss, The Federation of Disabled People and Shopmobility.

We showcased a number of our accessibility initiatives including our 'Helping Hand' scheme. This is a very simple idea. It is a bright yellow pocket-sized card that carries a customised message to the driver. It discretely asks for a specific action that will be helpful to the passenger. We also had information available about our 'Taxi Guarantee' scheme - this offers a wheelchair user, who is unable to board one of our buses for any reason, a complementary taxi to continue their journey. We are delighted that both these schemes helped us win an industry award last year in a category for 'Putting Passengers First' - so they are obviously helping to make a difference.

Feedback from the day was very positive. People like having all the information from different organisations available in one place. And this shouldn't come as a surprise, for as we know, a lot of those who access disability services do so from more than one organisation. The High Sheriff of East Sussex also attended and commended everyone for coming together under one roof, saying we should all do more of this - and we will.

So, what makes a successful Disabled Access Day? I would say it is for us all to come together and share ideas, share resources and share in the celebration. In that way, we will reach a bigger audience and help raise awareness on a grander scale. Raising awareness will help open up more spaces and places for more people to enjoy – helping people to live an independent life.

At the bus company, we do like to share ideas. In fact, this was how we got to first learn about Euan's Guide. One of our regular bus passengers with motor neurone disease told us about it - and we are so delighted he did.

Do you have an idea you want to share with me? I would love to hear from you. You can contact me by emailing victoria.garcia@buses.co.uk.