ANNA Smith is determined to improve access for people with disabilities in the Whitsundays.
Inspired by the memory of her nephew Dylan, who was confined to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, before passing away two years ago, Anna has created an award to recognise businesses that are ‘access friendly’.
The Dylan Award will be launched in March and will be presented to Whitsunday businesses deemed disability access friendly.
The award has been made possible by a $30,000 grant from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund and follows six months of work by Anna to get the project up and running.
“We were very excited when we got the call that we had the funding to make the project happen,” Ms Smith said.
“With one in five people of working age in Australia having a disability, it makes good business sense to make sure that a business premises, goods, services and facilities are barrier free.”
The funding will allow for a project officer who will provide free access reviews for businesses.
“Making your business access friendly might be as simple as rearranging your furniture,” Ms Smith said.
“It is not necessarily going to cost a lot and it will provide benefits across the community by improving access for the disabled, mothers with prams or the elderly.”
The funding will allow for the project to run for ten months but Ms Smith hopes it can be ongoing.
“If we can show that we are making change hopefully it is something that we can continue,” she said.