DIGS is chaired by Kez Adey, disability adviser and campaigner (Wheels of Freedom) and is made-up of a diverse range of people who have lived experience of disability or chronic illness, are neurodiverse or have caring responsibilities.
Now established as a community group, ready to apply for funds to support projects to improve access, Kez and the existing group of 15 local people are hoping to move into the next phase. After the most recent group meeting Kez said “Having members with a wide range of disabilities and long-term conditions improves our ability to raise awareness and understand the issues around access across our city’s parks, businesses, services, and events. One year in, it’s time to put the call out again”.
Over the last year the group has met with Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer and successfully campaigned for the recent gain of 1 hour’s additional free parking for blue badge holders within the Wiltshire Council-Run parking in Wiltshire.
DIGS have also worked closely with Salisbury City Council. After presenting to the council committee in 2022 they worked together to create the Councillor-Led Access and Inclusion Task Group and a DIGS representative attends each meeting to ensure the voices of disabled people are placed at the heart of plans and actions. Group members have been able to work with City Council officers to make some changes already, particularly working with the City Council Parks Team on missing gates and removing tree roots in parks causing difficulties for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, and those with mobility issues in general.
Kez and the group have conducted disability area audits with a range of local councillors, raising their awareness of issues such as dropped curbs and access to parks. Audits like this have also been conducted at local cultural sites, including Arundell’s House, providing organisations with clear actions to improve access to their buildings and services.
More recently DIGS co-hosted the recent All-Inclusive Roadshow, showcasing & raising awareness of the needs of the support network as well as those with disabilities; attended by many local people and 12 local organisations. Also working closely with the staff and children and Exeter House Vocational Centre to provide baked refreshments.
Justin, who has been a DIGS member from the beginning, joined to see what could be done to make life better for disabled people. “As I have a dual sensory loss, getting around safely can be challenging, and I think addressing this ultimately benefits the wider community. I would like DIGS to take the lead in making Salisbury a truly accessible city, safe for all residents and visitors.”
DIGS continually looks to create opportunities to listen to the disabled community and they have many plans for the coming year, including:
- Making more parks & green spaces accessible
- Making sure our city is safe for those with accessibility needs.
- Start looking into local groups (scout, guides etc) to promote disabilities to children of all ages.
- Working more with local businesses, charities, service providers and more to ensure they are accessible too.
- Supporting more disabled people and welcoming them to join.
DIGS meets at the Bemerton Heath Centre every 4 to 6 weeks in the evenings and the next meetings are:
27th June // 12.30pm
26th July // 6pm
27th September // 6pm
Just come along to meet the group or contact DIGS via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07425450562
Find them online:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/DigsSalisbury
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/digsalisbury/
In partnership with VisitWiltshire, Salisbury BID co-fund the Visit Salisbury website to promote the city to visitors. The Visit Salisbury website has a full events calendar for Salisbury.