Inclusive design on show at revamped path demonstration site

Minister for Equalities and Older People, Christina McKelvie unveiled our refurbished National Path Demonstration Site in West Lothian.

Minister for Equalities and Older People, Christina McKelvie unveiled the refurbished National Path Demonstration Site in West Lothian

We have managed the site located at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Oatridge campus at Ecclesmachan near Broxburn since 2009.

The public walking route around the campus demonstrates examples of best practice in inclusive design, path infrastructure and the management of shared use paths for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

Anyone involved in managing outdoor access, for example, park managers, access and active travel professionals, community path volunteers and those who manage care homes, hospitals, day centres and community spaces can visit and learn how to make the outdoors more welcoming for everyone, including people living with dementia.

With a range of path surfaces, gates, boardwalk, bridges, adaptive seating, strength and balance posts and easy to understand signage the site showcases a number of different access solutions.

The paths are open to the public and form part of the core path network in West Lothian connecting to Uphall in the south and the Union Canal in the north.

Christina McKelvie, Minister for Inequalities and Older People was inspired by her walk around the college site. She said:

It’s vital that our outdoor spaces are more accessible and inclusive for people with a range of health conditions to benefit their wellbeing. The examples of inclusive design on show at the National Path Demonstration Site, managed by Paths for All, will help to encourage more site managers to improve the design of their outdoor spaces.

Paths for All’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Lafferty is delighted with the new features on show that anyone can visit at any time, including college students. He enthused:

The National Path Demonstration Site showcases practical ways to incorporate accessible design principles into the walking environment.

For example, people living with dementia may face sensory challenges when going for a walk, requiring quiet spaces away from busy roads; even path surfaces; seating for resting that is easy to get in and out of, and straightforward signage. This is now all on show at our National Path Demonstration Site.

I am sure anyone visiting will be inspired to make their path networks, greenspaces and outdoor spaces more accessible, helping more people to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of everyday walking and active travel.

Paths for All received a Dementia Services Development Trust Disruption Grant of £10,000 to extend and improve services for people with dementia and their carers through changing the way people think about building design, health and social care policy and making improvements in health and social care services.

Sandra McDonald, Chair of the Trust is delighted with this new space that will help more people to deliver improved services for people living dementia. She said:

The Trustees of the Dementia Services Development Trust are delighted to see the outcome of their Disruption Award support for the National Path Demonstration site. Getting outside is vital for people living with dementia and their carers. Having an example of what well designed outdoor facilities can look like provides inspiration for park authorities and landowners everywhere.

Further funding was received from NatureScot, West Lothian Council and Avondale Environmental, part of the NPL Group, through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund.

Find out more about Scotland’s National Path Demonstration Site online.

Please email communitypaths@pathsforall.org.uk for more information about visiting the site.

Find out more about Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Environments work to enable more people to benefit from accessible walking environments.

Pictured l-r: Kevin Lafferty and Graeme Anderson - Paths for All, Marion Perez - Urban Pioneers, Richard Armstrong - Paths for All, Christine McKelvie - Minister for Equalities and Older People, Bridget Jones - NatureScot,  David Hopkins - SRUC and Carl Greenwood - Paths for All.


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