Worthing & Coastal Action Group

The Worthing & Coastal Action Group is an open, friendly and relaxed forum where disabled people join together to identify key issues and barriers in their lives, and work to create potential solutions.  We work in partnership with providers such as West Sussex County Council, the NHS and local communities striving for greater equality for disabled people.  

The group contributes to consultations, studies and surveys on issues facing disabled people and gathers other people’s views on key issues to help steer our policies and activities.

The next meeting - HAS BEEN POSTPONED

Our next meeting was due to take place on Monday 5 December, from 2pm until 3:30pm at the Independent Lives office in Worthing. due to unforeseen circumstances we are in the process of rearranging this event. Further details will be made available shortly.

We were very lucky to have Ann Bates OBE, an independent transport access consultant, as our guest speaker for this meeting.

Ann works with UK airlines and rail networks to improve accessibility and transport for disabled people. She is also a leading member of the Worthing Access and Mobility Group. 

We hope Ann will be joining us for the session to discuss her work and to talk about how you can get involved in what she does in the very near future.

Contact David at david.streeter@independentlives.org or call on 01903 219482 x256 for more information. 

What do we do locally?

Here is the July 2016 update on the work we're doing together to overcome local barriers, focussing on access and shops, transport, and public facilities, and also money and PIP assessments.

Much has happened since our last meeting on 10th June.  As a group we focused our discussion on the issues that face disabled people regarding accessibility and transport, and how we can work together to overcome them.

There were a few key areas which stood out amongst the others as being the biggest issues for disabled people on a day-to-day basis.

These were:

  • Inaccessible local shops, businesses, and restaurants
  • A lack of accessible toilets both within businesses and around West Sussex
  • Unclear rules and regulations around the use of wheelchairs and accessibility scooters on buses
  • Bad attitudes of some taxi drivers, as well as the difficulty of finding accessible vehicles
  • Concerns and uncertainty around PIP assessments and entitlements.

Using these issues we came up with five key points of action which we we will work on together:

  • With the help of West Sussex County Council set up and arrange accessibility audits across all local establishments
  • Approach West Sussex County Council and other partner organisations and community groups to discuss plans for current and future accessible toilets
  • Speak to local bus companies to find out what they’re doing about the confusion regarding wheelchair and scooter access. Find out what training they currently provide to their drivers, and what mechanisms are in place to support disabled people should they be unable to access a bus
  • Work with local taxi firms to establish what disability awareness training is available to staff, whether or not that training is mandatory, and what plans they have for future training. Also make an enquiry about numbers of accessible vehicles and plans to expand the accessible fleet
  • Produce resources to support disabled people going through the PIP assessment process.

We’ve begun to look into how the above points would best be taken forward. So far, we have:

  • Coordinated with West Sussex County Council to arrange for a member of their staff to take up the responsibility of access audits. This access officer will be responsible for auditing local businesses to ensure that they meet accessibility criteria as set out in the Equality Act 2010
  • Put into place partnership working between ourselves, the Council, and community groups to discuss the current state and future plans for accessible toilets in and around Worthing. Since the group met we have successfully managed to re-open an accessible toilet which had remained locked in the town centre
  • Drafted a transport campaign plan in order to tackle the many issues with bus, rail, and taxi travel. Within our campaign we’ve set out how we might best work with the local travel companies in order to help them with their disability awareness training. We’ll also be speaking with company representatives to find out what they plan to do in the future to support fully accessible travel
  • Set up a Money page on this website, where you can find resources to support you going through PIP assessment, and our trustee Sue Lines, and our campaigns officer talking about their personal experiences and advice from having undertaken the PIP assessment already or at the moment.

If you would like to get in touch to discuss any of the above points please email David at david.streeter@independentlives.org 

We still want to hear from you about any issues relating to disability you might be facing in your local community. Don’t hesitate to get it touch if there’s anything you’d like to discuss with us!  

Join us!

Our Worthing & Coastal Action Group meets every 3 months and is made up of disabled people, people who use our services, carers and other people with an interest in our work.

Meetings are relaxed, open and informal and we always welcome new members!  There is no regular commitment required, you just join us when you can. 

If you are unable to join us at meetings but you still want to be part of this work, you can join our Involvement Network to participate by phone, Skype, email and Twitter or in any other way that suits you.

We are inclusive, accessible and friendly and always try to meet individual needs so that everyone has the opportunity to shape our future and have their voice heard.

If you are interested in joining the group please contact David Streeter on 08456 0123 99 or by email to david.streeter@independentlives.org for more information.