Welfare at Leeds: Accessible LUU

Your Union Affairs Officer Jack Palmer writes about all the vents going on across Leeds as part of Disabled Access Day, as well as discussing how the Union Upgrade is affecting students right here at LUU.

This weekend, 10th-12th March, there is a range of events, activities and talks taking place across Leeds in recognition of Disabled Access Day. This national campaign aims to raise awareness of the need for accessibility in all aspects of life and celebrates the good examples which already exist.

With plans for more ramps than ever before, wheelchair-friendly furniture and extra lifts, LUU has ambitions to be one of the most accessible Student Unions in the country. But with current high levels of disruption from the Union Upgrade, students have been experiencing a multitude of issues. This includes lifts being temporarily out of order, heavy dust, loud drilling and increasingly crowded access routes.

Contact has been established with LUU’s Disability Action Society to achieve a greater understanding of accessibility issues faced by disabled students, give a full briefing on plans for the upgrade and integrate direct communications about disruption with the needs of their members. I want to thank these students for being so patient with the building work, as we didn’t want to close LUU for the duration of the project, but we need to make sure our services are still accessible.

LUU has started the twitter hashtag #AccessibleLUU which we will be using to communicate any news of disruption to students. We really urge you and the rest of the student community to use it so you are always up to date, but also to let us know when issues arise!

The LUU Helpdesk is your first point of contact for reporting issues you are facing concerning the Union Upgrade. From there you can be put in touch with the relevant services, such as Student Advice. The Advice Centre is available to provide support for a range issues the building works are causing. If you have a pre-arranged meeting with Student Advice and are concerned that the disruption may be a barrier to you attending, our advisors can arrange to meet you elsewhere on campus so that you can always access our services.

Over the weekend of the 10th – 12th, there are some really interesting events going on for Disabled Access Day in Leeds. On the Friday there is an open speaker event in the city centre called ‘Unlocking the ‘Purple Pound’: Why inclusive tourism adds up’, while Barclays Bank are hosting accessibility tours, pop-up stands from Leep, Your Health Matters, People in Action, Leeds Mencap, Specialist Autism Services, Sunshine and Smiles and a mini exhibition of work by disabled artist Sarah Ezekiel. On the Saturday there is an under 5s multi-sensory room and interactive trail at Leeds City Museum which would be great for student parents. If you want to get involved with Disabled Access Day and learn more, get online and check out www.disabledaccessday.com for more details about the events in your area and how to show your support.

Jack Palmer

(Image courtesy of: http://campusdevelopments.leeds.ac.uk/portfolio-item/leeds-university-union/)


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