An accessibility nightmare? - Ryhope Steam Pumping Station

The challenge was a Grade II listed Victorian steam pumping station. Providing ambulatory accessibility to some key parts of this complex structure is just not practicable. The building is leased by the water company to a volunteer group, that work hard to maintain and improve it, and to open it part-time so that people can appreciate their industrial heritage.

As part of a major upgrade, the team wanted to improve the disabled visitor experience as much as possible. In addition to opening those parts of the site that they could, they installed an Info-Point ‘Intelligent Network’, plus six webcams, and some low-cost loan tablets.

Ryhope Trust Chairman, Keith Bell: "Using an Info-Point network and six live webcams, we are able to offer those with ambulatory disability a much more participative experience as they can follow their party around and share in the visit.”

“Our site is poorly served by phone signal and broadband, and only manned part-time, so Info-Point was the only solution that works for us. Users will normally use their own device, but if they don't have one, then we have some tablets available for loan when we are open ."

After a press launch and disabled access public open day, Keith wrote:

“Info-Point has been a universal success and has been robust enough to cope with a high number of users. Some had trouble logging on with smartphones, but the instruction cards allowed us to guide visitors and press to complete the login process if their browser was not opened automatically.”

“We have been open for disabled access days today and the tablets you provided have worked a treat, they have an impressive battery life and perform really well. I have been able to train our less that techno-savvy older volunteers how to use them.”

See a video of the opening day at: