REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE DEAF COMMUNITY INVITED TO ADVISE ON UNIQUE AND EXCITING ACCESSIBILITY PROJECT

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Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium are seeking a Deaf person to join their access panel and play a vital role in the development of new accessible features for their visitors.

Winchester Science Centre (WSC) passionately believes that Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) should be available to everyone. The charity has made a firm commitment to improve the accessibility of the Science Centre, to create a more inclusive experience for staff and visitors and to widen participation in STEM.

In line with their guiding principle, ‘no decision made about me, without me’, WSC established an advisory panel in 2018 to inform the decision-making process regarding accessibility improvements. This includes individuals who represent a wide range of disability and impairment. The panel has played a key role in the charity’s development strategy, Inspiring Science for All, by providing valuable advice on new initiatives.

A number of accessibility features for the D/deaf have already been implemented at the centre, including a hearing loop and subtitled shows in the planetarium, with extremely positive results so far. The skills and expertise of someone fluent in British Sign Language (BSL) will be greatly valued as the centre strives to continue diversifying its visitor experience. Among WSC’s future plans are the projection of BSL interpreters during some of their planetarium and live science shows.

“We want to create a truly inclusive environment, with a real commitment to getting it right for people with a disability, illness or impairment and their families – so they can engage like never before.” said Ben Ward, CEO of Winchester Science Centre. “We are extremely grateful for the advice we have received so far and must continue to gain the perspectives of people from all walks of life if we want to reach our goal of becoming a world leader in accessible science centres and planetaria.”

Volunteers make a huge contribution to WSC, with trustees, student interns and STEM ambassadors all enabling the organisation to achieve its charitable aims. Through this new voluntary role, the charity is excited to continue exploring new accessibility options and building a future where barriers to STEM engagement no longer exist.

If you are interested in joining the access advisory panel at Winchester Science Centre, please get in touch by emailing access@winchestersciencecentre.org.