America Walks and the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)– Lakeshore Foundation are excited to announce the awards of the Designing for Inclusive Health Micro Grant program. The program awards funds for projects related to supporting disability inclusion strategies that make healthier choices the easier choices for all people in areas where they may live, learn, work, play, pray, and receive care.
Walkable and active communities lead to improved safety and health for community members of all backgrounds and abilities. They encourage broad involvement by all in the design and planning process, and are places where safe, accessible and enjoyable opportunities to be physically active are available to everyone. The projects highlighted in this initial round of grants are working to make sure all community members including people with disabilities have the opportunities to be active, healthy, and engaged with their neighborhoods.
We look forward to hearing and sharing their success stories as these projects are completed. Meantime, here’s a taste of what’s to come from some of our newest grantees:
Access Portsmouth (Portsmouth, NH)
Access Portsmouth helps people with mobility challenges plan for what to expect when they visit Portsmouth, NH. It is a web based guide with accessibility information for downtown restaurants and attractions, helping people who use wheelchairs stay connected to their community. Access Portsmouth is adapting this information into a Googlemaps based online application that would expand its reach globally. The addition of roll routes, user-tested and barrier free loops, are universally helping users of wheelchairs, strollers, as well as the general public travel around the historic downtown and waterfront. The goal is to raise awareness where it’s lacking, empower people, encourage a spirit of inclusiveness, and influence other communities to do the same.
Zeitgeist Center for Arts & Community (Duluth, MN)
The Duluth Walkability Action Team will work closely with the Commission on Disabilities to conduct tactical urbanism projects, low-cost and temporary changes to places, that raise awareness or demonstrate a solution to barriers that people with disabilities face in transporting themselves through their community. Currently, the needs of people with mobility limitations are not considered in planning, designing, or building infrastructure. By using low-cost, community-led projects, this project will demonstrate the need for such considerations. The current thought in Duluth is that these measures can only be done through elaborate, costly, and expansive efforts. These efforts will show that simple, low-cost measures can lead to an inclusive design.
Hanover County Health Department (Ashland, VA)
In coordination with The Arc of Hanover, which serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Chickahominy Health District will train volunteers to conduct walking and accessibility audits in Hanover County, Virginia. A document describing the audit findings will be included in the county’s Community Health Assessment/Community Health Improvement Planning process. Diverse community members will provide insights related to walking challenges that inform policies and projects in the county. This will move the focus to environmental improvements that provide equal access to all residents to pursue healthy living.