Running a social media contest to improve accessibility in our towns and cities
The London based social enterprise Mapping for Change is encouraging local businesses to improve access to their premises with a competition to win one of ten wheelchair ramps. Those one or two steps at the entrances of buildings should not be a barrier to those with limited mobility. Nor should they stop business owners from accessing an estimated £200bn of spending power from people in the UK with disabilities. A wheelchair ramp is a simple way to counter those steps, even on listed buildings or rented premises as it is completely portable.
The ‘Ramp it Up!’ campaign ran at the end of 2016 as a social media competition. Ten businesses were offered the chance to win a portable aluminum ramp, which is ideal for bridging one or two steps. Business owners and users were invited to nominate their shop, restaurant, theatre or any other building open to the public. They simply had to upload a photo of the entrance with a few details to Mapping for Change’s Facebook page to enter.
The competition along with the promotion of the free app ‘Wheelmap’ was designed to spark community interest, raise awareness and guide businesses towards opening up their services to people with disabilities.
Throughout the Ramp It Up campaign there were over two thousand votes for forty-nine entrants. The winners, top ten projects, based on the number of votes they received were announced in December 2016 and the ramps were sent out following this. The ten winners vary from restaurants to community centres and even charity shops.
Quotes from some of the winners on how the ramps will affect their businesses:
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive the ramp. It will help wheelchair users with neurological conditions to access the different areas of the garden. Coming to Chantry Walled Garden is a good opportunity for residents of the local care home to get out in the fresh air and chat to other people. Having the ramp means they can get in and out of the glasshouses, cottage, and workshop, and really join in. Thank you so much for making a difference!” S. Robirosa, ActivLives.
“The potential use of the ramp now makes the last three rooms within our complex, previously unavailable to motorised wheelchair users, now accessible” A. Prior, Chairman at North Romford Community Association.
About Mapping for Change
• Mapping for Change works to provide benefit to individuals and communities from disadvantaged or marginalised groups, along with the organisations and networks that support those communities, where the goal is to create positive sustainable transformations in their environment.
• The contest is an extension of the MyAccessible.EU campaign, a three year research project funded by the European Union aimed at improving accessibility for people with mobility impairments in European cities.
• Mapping for Change understands that accessibility is a legal requirement but recognises that cost can be perceived as a barrier. The campaign is intended to encourage compliance and demonstrate the value of creating access to businesses for all in the community as well as increasing awareness about the barriers presented on a daily basis to people with limited mobility.
• For more information visit www.mappingforchange.org.uk