Departments provide funding to enhance council facilities for people with disabilities

Date published: 22 August 2023

Council facilities are to benefit from a £714,000 investment aimed at making them more inclusive for people with disabilities.

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The Access and Inclusion Programme, funded by the Department for Communities (DfC) and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), has been running since 2018 and has enhanced services at dozens of public venues across the country.

The Department for Communities has secured a capital budget of £414,000 for the 2023/24 programme, with up to a further £300,000 available from DAERA for projects specifically located in rural areas.

Department for Communities Permanent Secretary Colum Boyle said:

“Working in partnership with the disability sector, DAERA, local councils and the NI Museums Council (NIMC), the Department’s capital grant programme promotes a more inclusive society by improving accessibility at arts, cultural and active recreation venues for people with disabilities.

“Over the past five years, we have made a real and positive difference to the everyday lives of people with disabilities, investing £5 million to enhance facilities at around 260 venues across Northern Ireland.”

DAERA Permanent Secretary Katrina Godfrey said:

DAERA, through the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) Programme, continues to work closely with other departments, agencies and councils to address access and isolation issues in rural areas. The Access and Inclusion Programme is an excellent example of how this collaborative working is promoting a more inclusive society by improving accessibility to facilities in rural areas.”

Recently supported projects include a sensory hub in Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area, inclusive swim facilities in Armagh, Craigavon & Banbridge Council area, Changing Places facility in Causeway Coast and Glens Council area and digital visual and audio guided tours at cultural venues in Derry City and Strabane Council area.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Access and Inclusion Programme has been in operation since 2018/19 and, during that time, has supported over 260 projects with a total value in excess of £5 million.
  2. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on email 
  3. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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