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Deputy Mayor endorses “Accessible South Bank” as a leading example of how to create an accessible and inclusive city

post-image 26th July 2019

Today, South Bank Business Improvement District (BID) and South Bank Employers’ Group (SBEG), in partnership with leading disability organisation AccessAble, welcomed Deputy Mayor Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard’s endorsement of the “Accessible South Bank” project. Through the successful delivery of the project, South Bank is now London’s leading location for accessibility information, with over 50 venues, cultural attractions, hotels and public spaces assessed by highly skilled accessibility experts, to provide detailed information for visitors with a wide range of accessibility needs.

At a launch event at Sea Containers London, the organisations were joined by Debbie Weekes-Bernard, London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, to welcome this milestone in making London one of the world’s most accessible cities.

Disability affects over 13 million UK citizens and the so-called Purple Pound is currently estimated to be worth £249 billion. Research conducted by AccessAble suggests 98% of people with accessibility needs check location criteria in advance of going somewhere for the first time and 76% have specifically not visited a place because of a lack of available accessibility information.

South Bank is world-famous for its outstanding cultural and artistic institutions and visitor attractions.  It has a range of top-quality hotels, and some of the capital’s best restaurants and bars.  It is also home to many global brands and companies, three of London’s most important education institutions, a leading teaching hospital and the country’s busiest railway station.

Nic Durston, SBEG and South Bank BID Chief Executive said: “South Bank is the cultural heart of London and one of the city’s most popular visitor destinations, attracting over 30 million visitors a year.  Our role is to ensure that we continue to make it as inclusive and accessible as possible to all our visitors. By bringing all our accessibility information together and funding this through South Bank BID at an area level, we have been able to do something at genuine scale, which we believe other areas of London could benefit and learn from. We welcome the chance to work with them to deliver this and make London a world-leader in accessibility.”

Dr Gregory Burke, founder of AccessAble, commented: “We were delighted to work in partnership with South Bank BID and SBEG to make this dedicated accessibility guide to South Bank. South Bank attracts over 30 million visitors a year, which means around 6 million of its current visitors will already require some form of accessibility information. The AccessAble website and App will enhance the experience of existing visitors giving people access to crucial detail on the go. Our users often say to us, “If I know I’ll go”, so having this level of information available will only boost visitor numbers to this landmark destination.”

Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement added: “Improving access across the capital is important to the Mayor and vital to ensuring disabled Londoners have equal access to places and spaces and opportunities to work and to socialise in our city.

“I am so encouraged by the Accessible South Bank project’s collaborative approach to promoting inclusion as well as its commitment to ensuring London’s commercial, educational and cultural centres are truly open to all.”

All the Access Guides are now available to view on AccessAble’s website and app, via a dedicated South Bank portal – https://www.accessable.co.uk/organisations/london-south-bank.

Individual guides will also be available through www.southbanklondon.com (the destination marketing site for South Bank, managed by SBEG), on each of the individual venues’ own websites and via Visit London’s accessibility pages.

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