The William Keown Trust’s Prestige Access Awards were held recently at the Lagan Valley Island Conference Centre in Lisburn.
An amazing 15 buildings and facilities including St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon received the Awards for ‘highlighting the achievements and promoting the dignity of people with disabilities’.
This new school which cost around £27 million opened in September 2018 and was built offering first class access facilities for those with disabilities.
According to the Trust: “It was obvious from the reading of the citation for each building that some had gone the ‘extra mile’ when it came to accommodating those with a disability. St Patrick’s surpasses all the expectations of the wheelchair user’s needs and is a testament to thought, foresight and innovation. It shows that the designers have gone over and above the required standards to provide a facility for ‘the inclusion for all’ in the academic spectrum and one which the Trust would highly commend.”
The Awards were handed over by Mr Trevor Taylor, the Deputy President to the Trust. Afterwards, Mr Philip Beattie, the Trust’s Chairman called upon Mr Robert Colvin, a retired Building Control Officer and someone with a keen interest in The William Keown Trust, to address the audience.
Mr Colvin said: “It’s difficult for us to believe now when there is a much more sympathetic attitude to minorities that organisations such as the William Keown Trust had to actively and persistently lobby for recognition for some 17% of the people in Northern Ireland, the percentage that were registered as disabled.”
He went on to say that the main barrier was attitude and the second was the physical built environment and it was the William Keown Trust who drove change in this area especially with the Access Awards.