As President of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland it gives me great pleasure to welcome the publication of 'Access Inside Out: A Guide to Making Community Facilities Accessible'.
This publication provides us with a valuable opportunity to learn about effective ways of including disabled people within our communities and marks an important step in improving access to community resources for people with disabilities.
Disabled people are recognised to be one of the most disadvantaged groups within our society and continue to experience considerable barriers in accessing and participating in social life. This is due, in part, to an unfriendly and inaccessible built environment. People's accessibility to their surroundings is central to their active participation in society and is a required condition of quality of life.
The RIAI is committed to promoting a barrier free built environment and integral accessibility. Through the work of our task force on accessibility and inclusive design we provide information to architects on best practice in incorporating these principles into their project. In addition we make regular submissions to government on the potential initiatives to improve accessibility in all aspects of Irish society.
I would like to congratulate DESSA on creating a comprehensive resource for the community and voluntary sector, which, I am sure, will enable community projects to take a more active role in advancing accessibility issues.
An Introduction to DESSA
Established in 2001, DESSA, the Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency is a national support agency working with community development organisations. DESSA's purpose is to promote the active participation of people with disabilities within their local communities through their involvement in community development organisations and activities. Community development organisations, such as Community Development Projects (CDPs) and Family Resource Centres (FRCs), play a vital role in ensuring the inclusion of vulnerable groups and individuals who experience marginalisation in Irish society. It is DESSA's mission to support such organisations in challenging the barriers that prevent the inclusion and participation of disabled people through the provision of training and technical support.
An accessible barrier-free environment is the first step in fulfilling the right of people with disabilities to participate on an equal basis in society. 'Access Inside Out : A Guide to Making Community Facilities Accessible' will provide those working in community development, both staff and volunteers, with a practical resource to assist them in ensuring their premises and activities are open to people with disabilities.
List Of Abbreviations
These are the most important abbreviations used in Access Inside Out: A Guide to Making Community Facilities Accessible. All are explained fully where they are used in the text.
- AAI: Architectural Association of Ireland
- CDB: City/County Development Board
- CDP: Community Development Project
- CIL: Centre for Independent Living
- DESSA: Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency
- DFI: Disability Federation of Ireland
- FRC: Family Resource Centre
- NAD: National Association for Deaf People
- NDA: National Disability Authority
- Part M: Building Regulations Technical Guidance Document M
- Regs: Building Regulations
- RIAI: Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland
- TGD: Technical Guidance Document