A new funding announcement in honour of National Accessibility Week means $284,000 for five Sudbury projects, allowing them to create inclusive spaces for people with disabilities.
Announced on June 1 at Science North with the shores of Ramsey Lake lapping in the background, Sudbury MP Viviane Laponte, Ward 12 Coun. Jocelyne Landry-Altman and Nick Ayre, Science North’s director of organizational development, spoke to the funding under the Enabling Accessibility Fund.
The projects in Sudbury who will benefit from the funding are:
- The Foodshed/Twin Forks Community Garden, which received $9,786 for their accessibility project;
- Trinity United Church received $83,499 for their accessibility renovations;
- Northern Outreach and Clinical Services received $83, 994 for their accessible multi-sensory room;
- The Sudbury Women’s Centre received $7,327 for their accessibility renovations and;
- Science North, host of the event, received $100,000 for accessible parking and ramps.
Ayre told attendees that for almost 10 years, the Enabling Accessibility Fund has supported Science North in improving access for current and future employees with disabilities, while also creating more opportunities for persons with disabilities to take part in community activities, programs and services.
“Programs like this are instrumental to our continued efforts to create a more accessible work environment at Science North,” Ayre told the attendees. “We have new designated accessible parking spaces and a new ramp to help remove barriers for staff traveling into and throughout our center. This project will also allow for new accessible ramps and parking spaces at dynamic Earth, creating a safer, more enjoyable and inclusive Science Center experience.”
Lapointe told Sudbury.com the funding helps organizations that want to be more accessible, but can’t bear the cost.
“It's so important to create inclusive communities but so many organizations who want to do that are small, not-for-profit organizations that don't have very deep budgets,” she said. “That's why funding like this is so important, because it allows them to do the types of work that they want to do, whether it's a community garden, a church, a women's center, it runs the gamut on how and what inclusivity can mean.”
She said that whether individuals are dealing with physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities, there should be a “welcoming community.”
“These organizations do such great work and it really is a great thing to be able to help them to deliver those services and make the changes in their programs that allow them to meet those accessibility goals,” said Lapointe.
Jenny Lamothe is a reporter at Sudbury.com.