Across the United Kingdom, there is a diverse community of approximately 16 million individuals living with a disability.
Disability is a broad spectrum, and often, some individuals benefit from adaptations to live their lives to the fullest.
Local Calderdale Social Enterprise, Visits Unlimited CIC heralds the way to improve access, remove barriers, and make the UK a welcoming and inclusive place through access audits, training courses, speciality consultancy and advice, and focus group involvement working both nationally and at a grassroots level here in Calderdale.
Visits Unlimited takes the time to assess every part of the journey, using their cohort of members with lived experience of disability, to educate and attract more people with a wide range of impairments to tourist attractions and businesses.
The Accessible Calderdale Project, a local project by Visits Unlimited, began in 2018, and its main aims are to remove both physical and non-physical barriers to inclusion throughout Calderdale by:
- Raising awareness and changing attitudes towards disabled people to enable positive interactions in everyday life.
- Promoting accessible venues, places of interest, green spaces, new builds and regeneration projects.
- Disability equality and customer service training.
- Working collaboratively with key organisations.
It can be challenging for those with a disability, and their families and/or carers, when days out don’t go as planned due to a lack of accessibility, even going as far as avoiding planning a day out due to fears of the journey itself or the venue, won’t be accessible.
Calderdale and the wider region have lots to offer, and it is important that businesses, green spaces, transport and access routes are able to be reached with ease and enjoyed by all.
Businesses should feel confident when it comes to accessibility, and through actively engaging with organisations like Visits Unlimited, they can gain valuable insights, resources, and guidance to create inclusive environments that cater to the diverse needs of all customers and employees.
The Purple Pound refers to the spending power of disabled households within the UK, it is estimated that approximately £2 billion a month is lost by businesses in the UK due to their inaccessibility. 
Visits Unlimited works closely with the local authority, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and tourist venues such as The Piece Hall, Eureka and Shibden Hall. As well as fostering strong relationships with Calderdale’s Voluntary and Community sector.
To ensure voices and concerns are truly heard, Visits Unlimited set up the Accessible Calderdale Disability Access Forum (ACDAF). The forum meets regularly and is made up of residents within Calderdale who each have their own unique experience with disability.
ACDAF is a collective voice, giving those with disabilities a platform to raise their concerns, gain peer support and feel empowered to influence change. There’s something for everyone, with sub-committees covering topics such as transport, countryside and green spaces, sports, health and well-being and tourism.
If you are a resident in Calderdale with lived experience of disability and would like to become an ACDAF member, you can sign up here.
By raising awareness, promoting accessibility, providing training, and fostering collaboration, Visits Unlimited and The Accessible Calderdale Project are making strides in breaking down barriers and changing attitudes.
Every step taken by organisations like them brings us closer to a society where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can confidently explore and enjoy all that Calderdale and the wider UK have to offer.
If you would like to learn more about Visits Unlimited and The Accessible Calderdale Project, you can visit their website.