Accessible Communities – There’s an App for That

Three in every four people with a disability report they feel anxious about visiting places they have not been to before due to worries about accessibility. We believe that everyone should be able to access their community – which is why we developed the Better Access Map!

Launched late last year across Newcastle and the Central Coast, the Better Access Map provides detailed information on the accessibility of over 800 local venues and businesses, pointing out wheelchair ramps, door width and parking options.

“The website and app exists to provide detailed information about businesses and organisations so people with a disability, carers and anyone who needs to know more about accessibility can find out if a place will be suitable for them,” said Kieran Bird, Better Access Map Project Manager at Vinnies.

“It’s about giving people facts, figures and photographs so they can make a decision for themselves about whether somewhere is accessible for them.

“No two people have the same access requirements – you might have someone in a wheelchair who needs flat entry or someone with a hearing impairment who might want to know what the sound is like or if there’s a hearing loop available.

“It’s really varied information.”

The Better Access Map app was developed in consultation with people living with disability, and is now seeing a wide uptake among the community.

“It’s not just for people with a disability – it could be for a parent with a pram or if you’ve broken your leg and need to know that there’s not too many steps.,” Kieran said.

“There’s details like how wide the doorway is or how many steps there are, where the reception counter is – it’s really detailed information that people with a disability told us that they needed to know about when they were going out.”

Following the positive reception to the app and website in Newcastle and the Central Coast, Vinnies plans to roll out the Better Access Map across other parts of the state with the hope of extending across Australia.

You can download the Better Access Map app through the App Store and Google Play, or find the Better Access Map online at www.betteraccessmap.com.au.