The University of Warwick’s commitment to creating an inclusive and safe campus for students with disabilities has been recognised by its peers with the award of the Association of University Directors of Estates University Impact Initiative of the Year Award 2020.
The AUDE awards judges highlighted the “impressive” level of support the University is now offering to students and staff with disabilities, and also praised the Estates team for its willingness to share ideas and expertise with other universities.
The Estates Department’s Accessibility and Inclusion initiatives include:
- “Supporting Disabled Students: the Radio Revolution” - Warwick has expended its existing radio system to provide an all-around support system for disabled students and staff with an identified need. The system now includes radio-based installations such as epilepsy alarms, pull cord and pendant assistance systems.
- Training and awareness for Estates and other University Staff around accessibility issues, from dedicated toolbox talks for maintenance and “Accessibility Moments” at every project team away day, to the very popular “Wheelchair Challenge” which encompasses awareness of various disabilities along with experience of accessing facilities using a wheelchair.
- Installing Changing Places accessible toilet facilities: Warwick is one of only a handful of UK universities to have these accessible facilities, which promote independence and choice for disabled people with complex needs.
Commenting on Warwick’s win, awards judge Stephen Wells, AUDE Chair (2020), and Director of Estates at the University of Sussex, said: “Warwick is a step ahead of most of us in thinking about the issue of safe and accessible campuses and the level of support they can now offer to disabled staff and students is impressive.
“As judges we were very convinced by the impact of the work that has been undertaken and grateful for the collegiate spirit Warwick have shown in their readiness to share ideas in this area.”
Estates Accessibility Officer Jenny Wheeler leads on accessibility and inclusion, and ensures that these are considered and implemented throughout the whole spectrum of Estates business from planned capital development through to reactive maintenance. Richard Field, Estates Life Safety Communications Supervisor, worked with Jenny and the University radio supplier DTS Solutions to develop the radio support system.
University of Warwick Director of Estates James Breckon said:
“Congratulations to Jenny Wheeler, Estates Accessibility Officer, Richard Field, Estates Life Safety Communications Supervisor, and all the other colleagues involved in this initiative.
“Jenny’s work with the estates teams both in the project and maintenance areas, has enabled people to be supported whilst at Warwick, making their experience both enjoyable and memorable.
"The Estates teams work tirelessly on creating and caring for spaces that inspire excellence, and it gives me great pleasure in the fact that this team have been recognised for the brilliant work that they do.
“The award is very much deserved.”
17 April 2020
Photo: Left to right: Richard Field, Estates Life Safety Communications Supervisor; Jenny Wheeler, Estates Accessibility Officer; George Saxon, Campus Security Systems Manager
Visit https://warwick.ac.uk/services/estates/accessibility/updates/accessibility_initiatives_- for full details of the projects which earned the award.
Media Relations Manager