Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA) : E-newsletter
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Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA)

Welcome to WAAFA's E-newsletter!

Winchester Area Access For All (WAAFA) is a forum dedicated to improving access and conditions for vulnerable people and those with disability in and around Winchester, Hampshire, UK.

This is our E-newsletter highlighting what the forum has been covering over recent months and advertising any relevant events or information. If you would like to add anything to this E-newsletter, please email:

Winchester Good Accessibility Awards

Like several other access groups, WAAFA has carried out a survey of shops and businesses with the aim of recognising good practice in making premises, goods and services accessible to all.  Initially we have restricted our attention to the 61 businesses in Winchester High Street between its junctions with Middle Brook Street and Jewry street.  

Certificates and badges (in the form of stickers - gold, silver or bronze) will be awarded to those shops whose practice is good.  The awards will be made by the Mayor of Winchester on March 11th.  

It is hoped that the badges will be displayed by their recipients  so that customers with potential access difficulties can enter their premises with confidence.  Also this should encourage businesses to maintain and even improve high standards of service.

Thanks for making this exercise possible are due to:-
Janet chierchia, who suggested the idea,
Ian Barrett, who provided much useful information and valuable advice in the early stages,
Margaret Gunn, who provided informationabout similar projects carried out in the past, and gave much useful advice,
Students of Osborne School, who, under the guidance of Penny Parkinson, diligently surveyed many of the shops and completed the questionnaires,
Andy Cadle-Mills, who provided much detailed information and advice in compiling the questionnaire, surveyed some of the shops, and analysed questionaires,
Ian Gilchrist, who made very useful suggestions, carried out many of the surveys, and assisted with the analysis of the questionnaires,
South East Network of Disabled People’s Organisations (SENDPO), who funded the design and printing of the stickers, and may adopt the design for similar projects in other places,
Zanell Neethling, who has given more time and energy to this  than anyone else by contacting all parties involved, seeking and compiling material for the information packs which we are to present to the businesses surveyed, surveying many of the shops (even, on one occasion, borrowing a wheelchair so that she could experience accessing shops as a wheelchair user), analysing questionnaires, and co-ordinating communications with all organisations and establishments concerned.

Winchester Walking Strategy Group
The Walking Strategy Group was formed from the Winchester District Strategic Partnership (Transport) with the aim of encouraging walking as a mode of transport in Winchester.  It seeks to bring about the conditions and attitude that give pedestrians (including those in wheelchairs and mobility scooters) priority over motor vehicles.

The benefits of this would be: improved health, reduced City Centre atmospheric pollution, more room in the City due to there being fewer motor vehicles (making it easier for those, such as Blue Badge holders, who need to travel by car or bus to do so), the potential to increase “passing trade” for local businesses, the creation of a better impression and experience for visitors and tourists and to generally enhance Winchester’s pleasant and historic ambience.

To help facilitate this, the Group has identified routes across and into the City which are, or could be, heavily used by those who live in, work in or visit Winchester.  Any removal of obstacles and improvements need to be effected in concert along routes as a whole rather than in a piece-meal way.  Members of the group have walked some of these routes to experience at first hand, and record, their good and bad features.  It is desirable that good routes have adequate footways, interact as little as possible with motor traffic, take people directly to their destinations, are free from unnecessary obstacles such as overhanging foliage or inconsiderately positioned street clutter, are attractively and interestingly landscaped, are well lit, are well sign posted and make one feel safe when using them.

The Walking Strategy Group is Chaired by City Councillor Robert Hutchinson (Chairman of The town Forum) and includes Liz Kessler (urban planning expert (County and City Councillors, relevant Council Officers, representatives of The Winchester Litter Pickers, The Business Improvement district and WAAFA.
Winchester & District Sports Association for the Disabled (WADSAD)
Winchester and District Sports Association for the Disabled (WADSAD) is a Charity run by volunteers that offers Archery and Swimming sessions on a Friday evening at River Park Leisure Centre for those with disabilities and learning difficulties. 

Anyone wishing to take part should contact the WADSAD Secretary, Debbie Lacey on Email at to find out if there is a vacancy for them as we have to restrict numbers for safety reasons.

Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance (HDAA)
Dementia Friendly Communities come to Hampshire

Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance

By 2020 the number of people living with dementia in the county is set to rise by 30 per cent to 24,000. A community focused response to supporting the growing number of people with dementia has been launched by Andover Mind, Hampshire County Council and the 5 Clinical Commissioning groups. At the heart of the dementia friendly communities concept is the need to improve the quality of life for people with dementia.

By listening to people with dementia and appreciating their needs, frustrations and hopes, the aim is for the wider community to develop a better understanding of the condition - helping people with dementia to live independently for longer.

Working together we can:

  • help people to live well with dementia
  • ensure that communities are knowledgeable and inclusive to support people with dementia and their carers.
With the community's support, people with dementia can:
  • carry on doing the things they enjoy and need to do like going shopping, playing golf or just sitting in a park
  • feel safe and find their way around
  • keep in touch with people and feel they belong to their community
A key part of the initiative in Hampshire is to develop Dementia Friendly High Streets across the county where people with dementia are understood and supported. Shops, leisure companies, transport providers and banks are amongst the organisations who are being encouraged to sign up to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance and pledge their commitment to creating Dementia Friendly Communities.
Dementia Friendly Communities Launch
The first  Dementia Friendly High Street was launched in Fareham on 27th November with a day of activities and information in the Shopping Centre. Businesses such as Fareham Shopping Centre, Boots, Costa Coffee, Santander, Clarks and Halifax are participating.  All businesses who have signed up to the Dementia Friendly High Street scheme will be able to display a sticker in their shop window, showing the Dementia Friendly Hampshire logo alongside the Alzheimer's Society's Working to become dementia friendly recognition mark.  This will show people with dementia and their carers that staff in these organisations will be trained on dementia awareness and how to support customers with dementia. Further high street launches are planned in the New Year of 2014, across the county including; Fleet, Lyndhurst and Romsey.

Vessi Wharton
Local Area Co-ordinator, Winchester
Mobile: 078 2731 8032   

All About Accessible Outlook

You may never have heard of Accessible Outlook or me, but I would like to share with you the fact I’ve spent for over 20 years looking at issues surrounding accessibility in tourism.

This has included helping destinations and businesses of all sizes to make their facilities and services more inclusive and welcoming for all - including Winchester, where I spent many weeks in 2009 taking in the sights as if I were a visitor, and writing up my findings.

Over the years, thousands of people have shared their first-hand knowledge of how difficult it can be to travel, find somewhere suitable to stay, places to visit on a day out, or somewhere accessible to eat. This has been relayed to the tourism industry through official channels, reports, working groups, access groups, access auditors, advisors, management and staff.

I am grateful to all who have shared their thoughts, frustrations and complaints via letter, email, and in the past few years through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

For 19 of those years I worked exclusively for the national charity Tourism for All UK and have seen many changes during this time, sometimes they've been painfully slow to happen, but in the longer term they've usually been for the better.

Most often the catalyst to become accessible for tourism providers is not the Equality Act 2010, but rather seeing how difficult it is for family or friends to travel or stay away from home.

I developed the website to help identify what can be done to make visitors welcome. One of the key measures I talk about is the provision of sufficient and accurate information to enable people to travel with confidence, knowing what to expect when they arrive at the end of their journey.

Another key aspect is safety and security – knowing that should an emergency arise, assistance (if needed) will be at hand. This could be for example: evacuation of a building; for notifying people with a hearing loss that a fire alarm has been activated; to being certain that there will be a mobile signal at self-catering accommodation (especially in rural locations) in case of a medical emergency.

It has been a long journey, filled with challenges of every description. But with the aid of many others who see the benefit of being inclusive, it has often been positive and rewarding.

I hope you find this of interest, and I send my best wishes to all in Winchester and hope that you all come through this period of awful weather - unbowed and unscathed.

Brian Seaman

Focus: BVI (Blind, Visually Impaired)
Location: Toronto, Canada
Current Initiatives: Functional Exercise
Knowing the good work and initiatives that Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA) does and tries to focus on we are just letting you know we share your enthusiasm and support your efforts. As an Orientation and Mobility Specialist for the blind and visually impaired (BVI) I try to advocate and “make things better” for all of us by encouraging and developing interactive activities for both the BVI and the Sighted. A kind of working together, learning together environment.

RCI realized the need for reliable and practical service for those with vision loss was not readily available and practical for our blind community. Losing sight does not have to mean losing your independence. With care, guidance and understanding, RCI reinforces an active lifestyle whether at home, at work, on campus, around the community or on personal basis. By being sensitive to individual differences and assessing current mobility and vision loss, RCI offers quality, custom service to develop self-confidence and continued independence.

Currently we are trying to open doors for “functional exercise” for our blind community. There are always opportunities for physical expression for those that want to compete and excel but there is not a focal point for practical, functional recreational exercise that helps improve and maintain gait, mobility, balance, flexibility and strength. There are many who need, and want, just a physical way to socialize and maintain a reasonable level of health.
"Question not the worth of all
   Just question where you stand
It’s up to every one of us
To help out where we can."

  ~ Steve Pollard Feb. 2014 ~

And in other news...

Blind skateboarder Tommy Carroll uses the sound of his wheels for orientation. This film showcases the US teenagers talents in the skate park. Please click here for video.
Blind student Kimberley Burrows named Young Illustrator of the Year 2014 by RNIB. For the full article, please click here.
Gloucestershire County Council is first local authority in the country to join national disabilities campaign, Disability Confident (DC). For the full article, please click here.
Radcliffe teenager Emily Riley is first to receive disability travel training. For the full article, please click here.
WAAFA Meeting Dates 2014
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Thursday, 19 June 2014
Wednesday, 16 July 2014

For any items for the Agenda or to be circulated the minutes of the meeting to, please email
Copyright © 2014 Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA), All rights reserved.

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