Over the last few months Echo Echo has made an extensive range of improvements to accessibility at our home studios at Magazine Street on Derry’s historic City Walls following an independent access audit. The project was kindly supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council through the Department for Communities Regional Access and Inclusion Fund.
Our upstairs and downstairs accessible toilets have been reconfigured to better suit the needs of people with disabilities. Works include – addition of full length mirrors, soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers, shelves and door operating instructions. Sinks have been lowered and moved closer to toilet basins with taps repositioned. Support rails, emergency alarm pull cords and reset panels have been relocated to be within the recommended distance from sanitary facilities.
High contrast wayfinder signage and individual room signage have been designed and added throughout the building.
An extra handrail has been manufactured and added to the staircase leading to the theatre for added safety on the stairs.
A baby changer unit has been permanently installed in our downstairs WC.
A new lift has been installed restoring full accessibility to all floors of the building.
Both of our studios have been fitted with permanent hearing enhancement systems as well as signage advising of its presence. Our front door entry speaker system has had a hearing loop installed and we also have a portable hearing loop for box office and small meeting settings.
- We have upgraded our means of escape provisions by procuring an evacuation chair for travel up and down stairs as well as providing training for staff and ensemble on the use of the chair.
- All doors have had their opening and closing forces adjusted to the recommended forces.
- Sanitary ware in WCs have had their tonal contrasts increased where required to aid people with restricted visibility.
- A selection of seating with and without armrests has been obtained for our theatre.
- Thermostatic mixing valves have been adjusted in all WCs and kitchen to ensure water temperature does not exceed recommended safety levels.
- WC door opening/closing signage upgraded.
- A non-slip all weather mat installed inside front door.
- Tactile stair nosing has been added throughout the building for added safety on stairs.
Echo Echo Studios was previously awarded a ‘Change A Little Change A Lot’ Silver Standard Accessibility Award a few years ago so we hope that these extensive further improvements will make the centre fully accessible to all of our audiences, participants, colleagues and visitors as we begin to re-open in the coming weeks and months.
Access improvements will remain an ongoing process and we will continue to work with our broad range of users to ensure the building is as inclusive and accessible as possible.
A big thank you to Echo Echo Technical Manager Barry Davis who co-ordinated and managed the project; thanks to the Department for Communities Regional Access and Inclusion Fund; and many thanks to Louise Boyce, Access and Inclusion Officer and all involved at Derry City and Strabane District Council.