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 0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council,
Allerdale House,
Workington,
Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ

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Daniel’s work experience project is making a difference

8 July 2016

A Workington teenager has been sharing his knowledge in a bid to make Allerdale Borough Council’s services and buildings more user friendly for people with visual impairments.

Daniel Murphy, aged 18, has spent a week-long placement in the council’s head office. Not only did he meet the teams to find out more about council services and potential career opportunities, he also toured some of its facilities, giving the council officers the benefit of his experience.

Daniel has been blind since birth and is a student of the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh where he has been since he was six. He came to the council with his support worker from Westhouse, Sam Jackson, who is also from Workington, and the pair have been offering advice about the way the council helps people who are blind or partially sighted.

Daniel said: “The layout of Allerdale House reception is great. I could walk straight in with my cane and I know exactly where to stop at the desk. It’s the right design because my cane will just find it.

“It would help if there was a braille stamp on all the desks to tell me where I am, and braille on the walls and the doors too to tell me which way the door opens and which room or corridor I’m walking in to. I’ve been talking to the council about how, if a door opens outwards, you put the braille on the wall so that the door doesn’t open suddenly while you’re standing there. Braille on staircases is a good idea too, to tell you how many steps there are. It makes it safer for people with visual impairments – and means you don’t fall down them!

“I use a speech programme on my computer too which tells me which key I am pressing and reads the text back to me. Maybe that could help visually impaired members of the public if it was installed on a computer in reception too.”

Daniel has also met with the project team for the new leisure centre in Workington. He praised the bright colours which had been used on walls which help those with visual impairments identify different areas, as well as the design of the showers which are accessible for people with sight problems to use, and especially the moveable floor in one of the swimming pools which will make it easier for people with disabilities to gain access. His braille advice will be implemented in the new building too.

Councillor Barbara Cannon, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive member for Corporate Resources, said: “It’s been great having Daniel with us this week and his work with us has been really helpful. It’s fair to say he’s charmed everyone he has met and his input has been really useful – I hope he has got as much out of his week here as our teams have.”

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0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ