Disability Equality Scheme

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3. Progress against objectives and Action plan

The Gallery has completed the first ten years of its on-going programme to improve physical and intellectual access for disabled people to its collection and ancillary facilities. It aims to continue the programme in all areas and to update and increase provision as resources allow.

Physical access

The Gallery seeks to provide all visitors with equal access to the building, making alternative provision where necessary, within the constraints of a Grade One Listed Building. It ensures that current and future building projects provide appropriate physical access for all visitors.

General maintenance and improvements to the Gallery's buildings

Progress against objectives to 2006

The Gallery commissions building access audits as necessary to keep abreast of new technology etc. The first audit was carried out in 1999 by the Joint Mobility Unit of the RNIB and the GDBA. The second, carried out by Tuffin, Ferraby & Taylor, was completed in 2004. An annual sum is set aside from the building budget and a five-year plan has been drawn up to carry forward the resulting recommendations. This process will continue.

In 2006, improvements were made to the parking bay for those with disabilities at the back of the building on Orange Street including clearer signage; a handrail was installed in Jubilee Walk and modifications were made to the Sainsbury Wing arcade to improve wheelchair access and to the toilet in the Sainsbury Wing including the replacement of heavy doors.

Plans for 2007 onwards

Picture galleries

  • Provide some seating with arms or fit arms to the existing benches

Main building stairs from main floor to Lower Gallery A

  • Reduce the circumference of the wall-mounted handrail to make it easier to grasp
  • Increase light levels

Sainsbury Wing main stairs

  • Investigate possibility of providing a central handrail
  • Extend handrails across landings where possible

Pigott Education Centre

  • Stairs from main to second floor: provide an easily grasped wall-mounted handrail
  • Accessible lavatory on lower ground floor: provide soap and towel dispensers within easy reach of the WC
  • Provide a second larger recessed basin for rinsing equipment

Sainsbury Wing cinema

  • Provide additional higher seating with arms and backrests

Sainsbury Wing lecture theatre

  • Improve contrast between nosings, treads and risers on stairs; alter profile of handrails on main stairs and stairs to stage to make them easier to grasp
  • Sainsbury Wing conference rooms: provide some seating with arms

New projects

The Gallery seeks when planning new projects to ensure that the needs of those with disabilities are borne in mind from the start.

Progress against objectives to 2006

At the outset of its most recent major building project, the Gallery took on a consultant from Tuffin, Ferraby & Taylor to monitor the project before and during construction to ensure, as far as possible equality of access for all. The recently completed East Wing scheme provided direct wheelchair access to the main building and to the pictures on the main floor. It also provided space for ArtStart which has considerably widened access for all visitors to information about the collection.

Plans for 2007 onwards

A major refurbishment of the Café in the Gallery's main building has been completed following a change of operator. The Gallery requires its outside contractors and suppliers to meet the same standards for access and to comply with the DDA. The Gallery's access consultant from Tuffin, Ferraby & Taylor in conjunction with the Gallery's Building and Facilities department carried out an audit of the National Café, which suggested that the following improvements be carried out and maintained:

  • Lighting to be improved to provide an appropriate level without glare

  • Distance between tables with chairs in position to be kept at 800mm to accommodate wheelchair users

  • Some lower perch points to be provided if possible

  • Some table heights to be raised to 685mm to accommodate wheelchair users

  • Height of self service drink stations to be decreased if and when possible

  • Height of tills to be decreased and a drop down area to be provided for access

Next: Equipment provision