The Heritage Lottery funded project will help to improve access, disability awareness and information on offer to disabled visitors at Seaton Wetlands.

Seaton Wetlands set to become a fully accessible site

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £527,000 to the Heritage Ability scheme which, over the next three years, will be working with sites across the UK, including eight places in Devon, to make them more accessible.

Seaton Wetlands, which is owned and managed by East Devon District Council, already offers guided walks for partially sighted visitors, as well as the use of the Wetlands Wanderer, an off-road mobility scooter. The Heritage Lottery Funded project will enable staff and volunteers at Seaton Wetlands to improve access, disability awareness and information on offer to disabled visitors.

Jessica Holroyd, Community Engagement Officer at Heritage Ability said:

It is great to have Seaton Wetlands on board. The Heritage Lottery Fund has made it possible for us to work with the site so that disabled people and those from the deaf community can have the same life chances as everyone else. By working with Seaton Wetlands we hope to improve access to the beautiful wetland scenery and wildlife.

Work at Seaton Wetlands is being planned by the Countryside team and the Heritage Ability project and improvements will include an online accessibility guide, British Sign language video tours of the site, along with awareness and skills training for staff and volunteers. Additional developments will be identified throughout the next three years.

Countryside Team Leader, Tim Dafforn said:

Seaton Wetlands is a great site for all ages and abilities. We have worked hard to increase accessibility and this funding raised by National Lottery players, means we can further remove the barriers to access.

Paul Thrush, Visitor Experience Manager at Seaton Jurassic who will also benefit from the funds commented:

We’re very excited to be working with Heritage Ability  to look at ways of improving Seaton Jurassic’s access for its disabled and deaf visitors by building links within the local community and schools.  Through shared knowledge and experiences with other partners we will be able to offer a range of tailored developments to our existing exhibits and all  areas of visitor interaction and engagement such as our website’

Cllr Tom Wright, Portfolio holder for the environment said:

It is fantastic news that the Countryside team will be working with a share of the money raised through the Heritage Lottery Fund at Seaton Wetlands. By working with the Heritage Ability scheme, Seaton Wetlands will provide the opportunity for disabled visitors to benefit from time spent in the East Devon countryside. East Devon District Council is keen to be as inclusive as it can be across all its activities and this funding will enable access to the wonderful wetlands by many more disadvantaged people.

For more information on the work of the Countryside team, and Seaton Wetlands visit wildeastdevon.co.uk. The team can be contacted via email: countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or telephone: 01395 517557.