Some of the Discovery Hut Volunteers at Seaton Wetlands who have been trained in disability and deaf awareness

Living Options Heritage Ability training project will help make East Devon attractions more accessible to disabled people

East Devon District Council Countryside staff and volunteers who work at Seaton Wetlands and who engage with members of the public as part of their work, have been given disability and deaf awareness training through Heritage Ability, a project designed to help sites  become more accessible. The project, which is overseen by Living Options Devon, operates across the South-West with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.   

During the training, which took place at Seaton Jurassic - one of East Devon's top visitor attractions - 11 Countryside officers and volunteers were taught appropriate skills to help them communicate effectively and respectfully with a range of disabled people.

Participants practiced communicating with one another, and considered how communication should be adapted to meet the needs of people with different disabilities including, wheelchair-users, deaf and autistic visitors.

Councillor Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s environment portfolio holder, said:

It is great that staff and volunteers took part in this important training. By understanding the needs of a variety of visitors to the site, appropriate adjustments can be made so that Seaton Wetlands is an accessible and enjoyable place for the largest number of people.

Countryside team leader, Tim Dafforn, who attended the training, said:

We want Seaton Wetlands to be a welcoming place for all. The site is great for those with physical disabilities and we are now working on improving the welcome and information for visitors with a variety of disabilities. This brilliant training has given staff and volunteers an improved awareness of disabilities and given them the confidence to use their new skills to welcome all visitors to the site.

The partnership approach to accessibility training between Seaton Jurassic, Seaton Tramway and Seaton Wetlands worked really well and will help all of us to make Seaton even more welcoming  to disabled and deaf visitors,

said Paul Thrush, Visitor Experience Manager, Seaton Jurassic. 

Over the next three years Heritage Ability will be working with Seaton Wetlands, Seaton Jurassic and Seaton Tramway to improve accessibility. The staff and volunteer training will be repeated in the New Year for those who were unable to attend.

For more information on how the Countryside team is working with Heritage Ability to make Seaton Wetlands more accessible or to arrange your visit to Seaton Wetlands please contact the Countryside team via email: countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or phone: 01395 517557.