Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Town and Village Management (TVM) team is celebrating after being chosen as winners of the Best Accessibility Scheme at the Town and City Management Industry Awards 2023, held in Leicester.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive Officer of Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) at their annual summer school conference, which this year focused on the reactivation/rediscovery of town and city centres.
The two-day conference offered great insights into how we reimagine our high streets and challenged us to think innovatively about the future of our town centres.
The award judges were impressed by the focus of the TVM team on travel, access routes, availability of facilities and increasing footfall and dwell time in our town centres, thereby supporting the local businesses and ultimately keeping our towns alive and prosperous.
The TVM team were rewarded for the work carried out through the Covid Recovery Revitalise Programme, which was funded by Department for Communities, Department for Infrastructure and Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs.
In consultation with local stakeholders, the TVM team were able to:
Introduce two new all-ability cycle hubs in Limavady and Portstewart, including the introduction of electric powered bikes, platform bikes and rikshaws. The sites chosen link to existing diversity parks and provide wider access to all ability cycling across the borough.
Improve two access routes in Portrush and Limavady, to enable safe and inclusive access for all.
Purchase two mobile accessible changing units (MACUs) for the borough. The MACUs come with specialist equipment to ensure they meet the needs of all. The units have been recently named by members of the public, Lili-Loo and Lulu.
Purchase inclusive play equipment for use in the main town centres of Ballycastle, Ballymoney, Coleraine and Limavady to create a new offering and increase dwell time in the town centres.
Julienné Elliott, Council’s Town and Village Manager explained: “We understand the value of the outdoor spaces in our borough and realise how important it is to utilise these spaces to ensure that residents, workers, shoppers and visitors, all have positive town centre experiences.
“Key to developing these projects the team identified that not all our residents were afforded the same opportunities to travel through our town centres. Council had one accessible cycle site and while this was a good offering, feedback from the people utilising the accessible cycles indicated that this did not meet the requirements of all potential users. As our borough covers a large geographical area, we knew that additional sites across the borough would be welcomed.
“The whole journey into our town centres is vitally important as part of the town centre experience. The inclusion of attractive access routes linking the town centre and peripheral residential area, while catering for the needs of all, will be a great benefit.
“Other factors that hinder people utilising our town centres is the lack of appropriate facilities. While all our towns offer disabled toilets, these do not meet the needs of all. Through this project Council now has two new mobile accessible changing units (MACUs) which will greatly benefit the borough.
“Finally, to increase footfall and dwell time in the town centres, we sought to adapt our outdoor town centre spaces to make them more appealing and positive destinations for everyone by introducing adaptable event space equipment and inclusive play equipment.”
Congratulating the TVM team on their success, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “I am delighted that this team has been recognised for its hard work and dedication to improving our outdoor spaces across the borough. This innovative approach is to be commended and it will have a lasting impact on our town centres, ensuring they are more welcoming and inclusive places to Shop, Eat and Enjoy Local.”