• BLPCP Team

New project to encourage local business to become accessible to all

By Courtney Yam – Inclusive Towns Project Officer

The City of Greater Bendigo, Loddon and Mount Alexander Shire Councils with funding provided by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity building National Readiness Grants are committed to increasing accessibility for people of all abilities through the Inclusive Towns project.

Inclusive Towns is a project that aims to increase the accessibility of local businesses for people with disability which makes good sense considering that more than 25,000 people living in the project area are living with disability.

The project focuses on three key areas of inclusive communication, physical environment and disability awareness to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities and choices as those without.

It’s important for business to understand that every person with a disability is a potential customer as people with disability can be loyal to establishments that cater for their needs and this can ultimately lead to more sales for local businesses.

Improving the accessibility of local businesses benefits everyone, especially people with a disability, parents with prams, people with English as a second language and older residents.

Diversifying is a smart business approach and the Inclusive Towns project will support local businesses to make simple changes that will improve their accessibility to expand their customer base.

For businesses interested in becoming more accessible the project involves three visits by project officers to determine how accessible the business is.

Through the visits project officers will carry out a site inspection, review printed materials and websites and talk to staff. The information gathered will be used to form an action plan for the business to increase accessibility and to market the business through an online listing of accessible businesses. Accessible businesses will also be provided with an Inclusive Towns window or door sticker which will identify it as accessible and committed to creating a more inclusive community.

Approximately 40 per cent of adults identify as having some form of disability or long term health condition so it’s an important project for Central Victoria.

It is also against the law to discriminate against a person with disability under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the project is a way local businesses can ensure they are complying with the law.

If you have any questions about the project please contact Courtney Yam at the City of Greater Bendigo on 5434 6000 or email inclusivetownscommunities@bendigo.vic.gov.au

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