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21 years of making life accessible to all

PUBLISHED: 16:49 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:40 07 July 2010

A pressure group that has made getting around the Dereham area easier for people with disabilities has marked its 21st birthday.

Over the past two decades the Dereham and District Access Group has had numerous successes in ensuring better access for wheelchairs to public buildings, making sure dropped kerbs and pedestrian crossings have been put in the appropriate places and becoming a recognised organisation from which others seek advice.

A pressure group that has made getting around the Dereham area easier for people with disabilities has marked its 21st birthday.

Over the past two decades the Dereham and District Access Group has had numerous successes in ensuring better access for wheelchairs to public buildings, making sure dropped kerbs and pedestrian crossings have been put in the appropriate places and becoming a recognised organisation from which others seek advice.

It marked its anniversary by publishing an information leaflet.

The foldable leaflet, entitled Making Life Accessible For All and subtitled Breaking Down the Barriers, is now being distributed at various public places around the Dereham area.

As well as explaining what the group does and how it can offer help and advice to people with disabilities, the leaflet also includes contact telephone numbers and website addresses.

The leaflet, compiled by group policy officer Alan McKim and designed by Mike Wyatt who also arranged its printing, was financed with the help of a £250 grant from Breckland Council. The cheque was presented at the group's annual meeting on Thursday in Dereham.

The group has also benefited from a second £250 donation from Dereham Town Council to help committee members have documents translated into Braille. This will allow all members to participate fully in running the group.

During the meeting tribute was paid to the hard work over many years of Jean Rowe who has just completed a year as the group's chairman. Julian King was elected the new chairman.

Lynda Turner, executive support member for communities at Breckland Council and a Dereham town councillor, said: “There is still a long way to go to make Dereham fully accessible but without the enthusiastic work and influence of the group the town would be a far less friendly place for those with disabilities.

“The town council recognises this group's important contribution to the community and was happy to support their request for funding.”

Theresa Hewett, Breckland executive member for communities, said: “Over the past 21 years the access group has made a real difference to the urban landscape in Dereham and ensured that wheelchair users and others can move around more easily.

“Hopefully this leaflet, which was paid for out of the Pride in Breckland grant, will help publicise the important work of the group further and encourage more people to get involved.”

Pride in Breckland coordinator Richard Wills said: “This just goes to show what a big difference a relatively small amount of money can make to an organisation such as the Dereham and District Access Group.

“Publicising what the group does is important as it will ensure the continuing success of this organisation which makes a difference to so many people's lives.”

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