Hedleys Employability worked with intu and Hedleys College Student Council to carry out an access audit on the Metrocentre as part of the work they are doing to renew signage and regenerate the malls.

The students got straight to work, visiting the centre and taking lots of photos. Once back in college, the students identified things that were a barrier to people with disabilities, including things like not having enough colour in the malls to find your way around independently, not enough signs in some places, or signs being too high up for wheelchair users to see.

They also found old photos of the Metrocentre to compare with now and see the improvements that have already been made over the years. The students decided they needed to take a more focused look at certain parts of the Metrocentre and visited again for a look at the fire exits, toilets and even hired a mobility scooter from Shop Mobility to see how accessible the service is.

The students wrote a report and presented their findings to staff at intu on Tuesday, May 24 and explained how they could improve the centre for people with disabilities.

The presentation was a great success and intu staff were very impressed by the students’ hard work. They plan to use the information to help them plan and design their new signs and malls. The Student Council are looking forward to seeing the changes that could happen.

Disability North held the North-East’s largest Independent Living Exhibition at Newcastle Racecourse last month.

The Percy Hedley Foundation had a stand at the event, which was run by the Hedleys Employability team.

Christine Shanks, Project Manager at Hedleys Employability would like to thank everyone who supported the Foundation, especially the signed singers from Northern Counties School, who captivated their audience and had people on their feet dancing.

DNEX is a well-attended event offering a wide range of information, advice and equipment for disabled people, older adults, carers and health and social care professionals on a range of disability related issues.

The overall feedback from staff who attended the event found it to be informative and a good way to network and engage with other organisations.