Highlighting the achievements and promoting the dignity of people with disabilities!

Access Awards

Prestige Access Awards 2018


The Galley Restaurant, Annalong

Owner: Mr & Mrs J Chambers
Architect: HPA Architecture Ltd, Portadown
Builder: David McKee Contracts, Kilkeel

This popular Restaurant which was opened in 2014 is situated in the centre of the picturesque village of Annalong. There is ample car parking provision on both sides of the wide carriageway at the front of the building.

There is off the road parking close to the building. This especially facilitates a minibus carrying wheelchair bound persons, thus enabling them to disembark using the vehicles lowering ramp system. This off the road parking is also available for cars carrying people in wheelchairs.

Good wheelchair access has been provided to the building with ramps having an easy incline with suitable surface finishes and handrail provision.

Entrance is by two wide glazed double action doors with suitable manifestation through porch/waiting area which has seating provided.

The main seating area has tables suitable for wheelchair users; this together with good floor finishes makes for easy access for wheelchair users throughout the building.

A Disabled toilet is accessed by wide corridor with cubicle having all the necessary fixtures and fittings, including baby changing facilities.

Vision panels have been provided to doors, with switches and sockets suitably sited for ease of use.

The friendly and courteous care offered by the staff to customers greatly adds to the pleasure of dining at the Galley.

Eurospar Knockchree, Kilkeel

Owner: Henderson Retail
Architect: Anderson Architect, Portadown
Builder: McGaffin Contracts Ltd, Belfast

This store architecturally has been deemed a store of excellence and has been set out with a true duty of care to the local community. It is sited in a prominent position in the town centre of Kilkeel.

Eurospar through their passion and commitment to their customers were the proud winners of Henderson Retail Community Store of the year for three years consecutively and raised £40,000 for worthy local causes.

Entrance to the store is gained from the spacious car parking and forecourt area, which includes a covered ATM facility. Forecourt includes a designed pedestrian walkway leading from the roadside to a spacious clutter free level entrance; provision of this facility is to be applauded.

Suitable disabled parking bays have been provided close to main entrance door also to staff parking area. Access to the store is by wide automatic sliding glazed doors which have a level access and suitable manifestation.

High quality lighting to the aisles which have also suitable floor finishes, allows both wheelchair users and people with visual impairments to have easy access throughout the store. Low level counters have been provided throughout this busy store. The store also houses the Post Office and the counters here have been provided with specialist equipment to support customers who may suffer from a decline in their hearing or to help those who suffer from a decline in their eyesight.

A spacious well equipped disabled toilet has been provided which has all the necessary fixtures and fittings including baby changing facilities.

In keeping with their duty of care to the local community the store offers a ‘carry to the car and fuel filling service’, which is complemented by a home delivery service, all of which is greatly appreciated by the less able bodied customers, some of which may be home bound. The customer care offered by the friendly courteous staff at this stone is of the highest standard.

First Trust Bank, Coleraine

Owner: First Trust Bank
Architect: Nigel Lynch Associates, Belfast
Builder: MJ S Dunlop Ltd, Ballymoney

The previous access arrangements to the bank was either by using external steps at the front of the property or for those unable to facilitate the steps, to use a separate amenity to the rear of the property and await a member of staff to attend the said location. Due to land ownership constraints it was unable to provide external ramped access to the entrance doors and therefore this led to a completely reconfigured internal layout of the bank, thus the entrance doors had to be relocated to the centre of the building which in turn reduced the internal floor level by more than 550mm.

The refurbishment was opened on June 2018 and now facilitates level access from the ‘Diamond’ with large motion sensor automatic double doors giving 1metre clear opening width, furthermore, the bank now boasts the following amenities.

  1. Large entrance lobby encompassing a modern, elegant platform Lift;
  2. Colour contrasting finishes to aid customers with visual impairment;
  3. Banking counter glazing incorporating wide openings for ease of

communications for all customers with hearing difficulties;

  1. Welcome pod with staff assistance provided to help all customers with their enquiries;
  2. Large open plan banking hall for ease of circulation;
  3. Lowered banking counter;
  4. Private consultation booth accessible to all customers.

The platform lift is used on a daily basis and customers are extremely happy with one customer recently quoting:

‘The new level street access to the branch is great, plus the lift is so easy for wheelchair users to operate. It is a big difference from the small room at the back that I used before… I now feel like a valued customer again as I can do my bank business along with everyone else’.

This project was delivered successfully obtaining all the requirements set out in the brief whilst providing accessible facilities over and above what the regulations require.

LIDL Store, Castledawson Road, Magherafelt

Owner: LIDL NI
Architect: Structural Design Soluctions, Castlebar
Builder: Forrme Ltd, Coalisland

This store is a total rebuild, following the demolition of the older outdated property which was erected in 2004. This flagship store is one of Lidl’s ‘New Concept’ store design and will be fit for purpose well into the next decade.

Within the car park there are many standard bays and clearly visible 4 x disabled bays adjacent to the shopping trolley stand. Here there are two specific wheelchair trolleys for use in the store. Entry to the building is on level threshold through electric double doors of 1.3m clear opening width.

In the foyer there is tea and coffee available from vending machines with controls at adequate height. A second set of automat electric doors leads to the shop floor. Adjacent is the shared public toilet fitted with grab rails, emergency pull cord, baby changing facilities and two wash hand basins.

A corridor (1.6m width) leads to the staff room and staff canteen facilities which are all wheelchair accessible with doors at 900mm clear opening width. A separate staff shower wet room with wall mounted seat, grab rails and an emergency pull cord and a locker area adjacent.

Next to this is the storage warehouse with all controls and switches at adequate working height. There are two rapid rise doors from here to access the shop floor. Within the store wider shopping aisles are found and two checkout till aisles. Adjacent is a packing shelf leading to the exit aisle of 1.7m width.

A fire escape door with clear visible signage at the rear to the store leads to a concrete path with refuge point for the disabled customer. Here assistance will be given in order for such customers to reach the assembly point at the car park.

One key factor to the shopping experience is every Tuesday night from 6pm – 8pm the store facilities ‘shoppers with autism; when the lighting is dimmed, music is turned off and no public announcements are made.

Shoppers with sight impairment who need the assistance of a dog are also made very welcome.

This makes the store stand out in its conquest to make the shopping experience ‘inclusion for all’.

Moneymore Recreation Centre, Moneymore

Owner: Mid Ulster Council
Architect: Michael Heron, Architects, Coalisland
Builder: Kevin Bell Contracts, Cookstown

This building was officially re-opened at the end of September this year, following a £340,000 investment plan to upgrade and refurbish its facilities. The changes made include two additional meeting rooms, one of which is large enough to be used as a studio for exercise classes, modernised reception, kitchen and toilet areas, all with improved accessible for the user with disabilities.

Within the car park are two electric car-charging point bays. There are also three disabled parking bays, all visibly marked close to the entrance. Ramps integrated to the external path around the building have tactile pavers at crossing points. On approach to the main entrance there is level threshold access to electric sliding doors opening into a bright reception area. At reception there is a lowered counter.

The downstairs facilities are accessed through a door opened by touch pad. The corridor is 1400mm in width and most of all doors to meeting rooms and main Sports hall have vision panels fitted. There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor with a level deck shower facility with wall mounted seat and grab rails insitu at the shower and toilet. On the ground floor there is also a designated First Aid Room where a defibrillator is available.

Access to the upper floor is via a five person lift. On this floor is the new Meeting room with accessible kitchen facilities attached and further down the corridor the new larger Meeting Room/Fitness Studio. A new disabled toilet is also on this floor equipped with emergency pull cord, grab rails etc. Again, all doors on this upper floor have clear opening, vision panels and are operated by touch pad opening facilities.

All controls/switches are at 900mm height. All signage has tactile braille included throughout the building. A Loop hearing system is installed for use within the building.

There are two fire refuge points for the disabled on the upper floor, one at the top of the main stairs, at the front of the building leading to reception, the other close to the doorway at the external fire escape at the rear of the building where an evacuation chair is available. This refurbishment is impressive throughout.

Omagh Hospital & Primary Care Complex, Omagh

Owner: Western Health & Social Care Trust
Architect: Todd Architects & Hall Black Douglas, Belfast
Builder: McLaughlin & Harvey, Belfast

This Primary Care Complex which is a state-of-the-art building was opened in June 2017.

Outside there are a number of disabled parking bays close to the entrance. The entrance to the building is partially covered and access is gained by glass automatic doors.

In the reception area there is low level counter with space to accommodate wheelchair users.

On the ground floor there are large waiting areas together with a dining area, all purposely built to suit the needs of all who use it.

There are forty single in-patient rooms which are so designed to promote patient privacy and dignity whilst complying with the latest infection prevention and control standards. There are two additional wards which are designed for those patients who need palliative care or rehabilitation. There is also a twenty-four place renal dialysis unit and twenty-two recovery beds for those patients who need to recuperate from Day Case Surgery.

The toilets are all well-quipped with all switches and wash hand basins at a level which is suitable for those in a wheelchair.

Four GP Practices are located within the complex offering a wide range of general medical services. A bus services operates every half-hour between the Omagh Bus Station and the Primary Care Complex, between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday.

This is truly a magnificent complex, one which will serve the people of Omagh and surrounding district for many years.

Station Blue Self Catering Bungalow, Portstewart

Owner: Causeway Coast Rentals
Architect: Kevin McClelland Architects Ltd, Portstewart
Builder: Glebeview Builders, Coleraine

This bungalow has off street parking in its driveway and at the front of the property. All surfaces are comprised of brick paving and there is a concrete path leading to the rear and external garage.

A level threshold front door entrance opens into a 1200mm wide hallway. All internal doors are either 750mm or 900mm clear opening widths.

There are four bedrooms to the front and right hand side of the property.

  • One of the bedrooms is equipped with overhead ceiling hoist from bed to adjacent spacious wet room through a clear opening doorway;
  • Level deck shower with free-standing adjustable seat and grab rails insitu;
  • Modern ‘Geberit Aquaclean 8000 Plus’ sensor activated toilet complete with integrated washing and air drying facility and further grab rails fitted.


A separate bathroom is at bottom of hallway.

All controls/switches are at 900mm height and each room has integral heating/temperature controls.

The property has a spacious bright open plan kitchen - dining and living room at the rear of the property. This has rear double patio doors leading to level outdoor paved area complete with table and chairs for alfresco dining.

St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon

Owner: Trustees of St Patrick’s Academy
Architect: McAdam Design, Belfast
Builder: Tracey Brothers Ltd, Enniskillen

This new school which cost in the region of £27 million opened its doors in September of this year.

On approach to the entrance plaza there is adequate car parking, with six specifically outlined disabled bays. All paths have tactile paving at crossing points within the car park and lead to level access threshold through two sets of touch pad double opening doors into a bright wide reception. Reception has a lowered counter for wheelchair users. There are two, ten person lifts. Throughout the school there are eight disabled toilets all with the necessary equipment.

On the ground floor there is a designated treatment room equipped with a defibrillator and next door is a Hygiene room fitted out to the specifications similar to a large ‘changing places facility’. This includes a ceiling tracking hoist system which accesses the level deck shower area, height adjustable wash hand basin, changing bed and toilet all equipped by accompany grab rails. In the PE department there is a designated disabled changing room, again equipped with all the necessary equipment.

The stage area in the Assembly Hall is via a plat-form lift fitted with dual controls.

In the staff room there is a height adjustable sink, tables at an adequate height for wheelchair users and accessible pigeon-hole shelving. All practical classrooms have height adjustable sinks, desks and work benches. All other classrooms have white boards at lowered heights to accommodate the wheelchair user. Most corridors are 1500mm wide and all classroom doors are fitted with large vision panels and all door signage includes braille.

The building has a loop hearing system and in the event of a fire, has a siren, strobing light facility, various refuge points with assistance provided for egress to the assembly point.

The building 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.

HMS Caroline, Alexandra Dock & Thompson Dock Pump House, Belfast

Owner: National Museum of the Royal Navy
Architect: Consarc Design Group Ltd, Belfast
Builder: Tracey Brothers Ltd, Enniskillen

This project deals with three historic elements, namely the HMS Caroline, the Thompson Dock and the Pump House. The Grade ‘B1’ listed Thompson Dock Pump House sits between the Alexandra Dock (1889) and the Thompson Dock (1911) and was originally constructed for the Alexandra Dock and later extended for the Thompson Dock.

A Scheduled Monument Consent was obtained to create a fully accessible route around the dock including the insertion of a new accessible bridge at the dock mouth.

Historic paving was lifted and re-laid around the Alexandra Dock to create accessible routes from designated car park spaces for visitors around the ship, pump house and dock. Three blocks of the pump house have been conserved to provide fully accessible visitor facilities as well as accessible staff accommodation.

In order to provide a legible visitor flow, a new external ramp was designed to allow access into the pump house responding to the historic maritime environment. New internal ramps address level changes between the three blocks.

Disabled toilet accommodation is located close to the reception point which includes induction loop technology and an accessible ticketing area. Staff facilities on the first floor are also fully accessible by a new platform lift installation.

The HMS Caroline Ship dating from 1914 is the last surviving ship form the WW1 Battle of Jutland, its significance is on a power with that of a Grade ‘A’ listed building.

In a world, first driven by creating access, the ship was connected to the dock by a pair of triangular mooring arms which limit the movement of the ship to a simple up and down motion with the tides. This then allowed an accessible gangway to be constructed with a fixed section and a section which rises and falls and allows access in all tide conditions.

The work on board also included the removal of upstands at doors in corridors to promote accessibility as well as the installation of three platform lifts to allow access to all public areas and the creation of accessible toilets.

This project is an exceptional example of achieving universal accessibility within the very challenging strictures of an historic iron vessel, listed pump house and schedule dock monument. This project which delivers a unique visitor experience, including interpretation can now be enjoyed by all and should be commended.

Drumbo Presbyterian Church Halls

Owner: The Trustees of Drumbo Presbyterian Church
Architect: Ballymullan Architect Ltd, Lisburn
Builder: M E Crowe Ltd, Lisburn

The congregation of Drumbo Presbyterian decided in 2013 to replace the former school house, which served as a church hall from the 1950’s.

In fulfilment of the church’s desire to reach out to the community and facilitate the church’s need the new building was planned with these needs in mind.

The new building comprises of a sports hall, café, and lounge area along with four rooms which can accommodate 20 to 60 people located on two floor levels.

Access to the building is from a bitmac surfaced carpark which has two designated parking bays along with dropped kerbs enabling easy access to the level, covered, approach to the main entrance doors.

Wide glazed entrance doors, with manifestation, give access to the entrance hall which leads to the ground floor rooms also to first floor rooms by a fully compliant stairway.

Features within the café lounge include a servery with low level surface, seating and tables that can be arranged to suit user needs, it also links to the sports hall, large kitchen, creche with its outdoor secure play area, accessible toilet and standard toilets. Within the spacious toilet, located close to the sports hall are a baby change unit and accessible shower including flip down seat, adjustable shower head, grab rails appropriately positioned and emergency assistance alarm.

First floor accommodation comprises of two spacious meeting rooms, small meeting room, shower room and toilet all accessed by a fully compliant lift. Wide corridors and doors provide good access to all rooms and facilities. A fire refuge space and accessible toilet is located close to the largest meeting room.

Good colour contrast, clear signage, floor finishes suitable for wheelchair users along with high quality lighting make this a very user friendly building of which the congregation can be justifiably proud.

Moira Presbyterian Church

Owner: The Trustees of Moira Presbyterian Church
Architect: Cornett Design Associates Ltd, Armagh
Builder: Jim Irwin Contracts Ltd, Newry

In the spring of 2016 the original church building which served the congregation from 1829 was demolished to make way for a major building project costing £1.2 million. The objective was to accommodate, not only the needs of the congregation but also facilitate reaching out to the local community.

With the site being level, access around and to the building is excellent. There are two disabled parking bays which have clear signage located close to the main entrance doors. The approach is level leading to recessed double doors affording weather protection to those entering the building.

Entrance hall and welcome area are spacious with good lighting and hard floor finishes providing access to all facilities. Within this ground floor area is a servery incorporating a low level section, tables and chairs allowing a flexible layout.

Double doors give access to the modern meeting house, toilet facilities baby changing area and fully compliant stairway and lift.

The meeting house can accommodate 400 people. Comfortable seating is provided that allows for a flexible seating arrangement enabling wheelchair space to be located where desired.

Wide aisles permit easy access throughout, including ramped access to the spacious platform. Hearing loop systems are installed in all meeting rooms.

A large first floor meeting room can be accessed via a standard lift or stairway, off a wide landing area that also allows access to the meeting house balcony. At balcony level a wide landing permit use by wheelchair users if desired.

This building has been constructed to an excellent standard, it is evident to the visitor that user needs are catered for in a very acceptable way that includes activities suitable for all age groups.

Maze Presbyterian Church & Halls

Owner: The Trustees of Maze Presbyterian Church
Architect: Knox & Markwell, Bangor
Builder: MSM Contracts Ltd, Portadown

To facilitate the needs of a growing church the congregation embarked on a major building project to provide a new meeting house, meeting rooms and crèche facilities all linked to the existing church halls via a spacious entrance foyer.

Access to the building is from a bitmac surfaced carpark with four clearly defined disabled parking bays convenient to the main entrance doors that are covered to provide weather protection.

The crèche is well equipped and attractively decorated, providing a stimulating and inviting space for young children.

Good colour contrast and hard floor finishes throughout permit easy access for wheelchair users along with the use of wide door openings to corridors and rooms.

Standard toilets and disabled toilet all with the necessary fixtures and fittings are conveniently positioned in the entrance foyer.

The meeting house is well equipped with audio visual equipment including a loop system. There are wide aisles and seating can be arranged to permit wheelchair spaces at different locations as desired.

This project has achieved the objective of incorporating the existing church hall into the new build in a very effective manner, the outcome being a building that will serve the congregation and community for many years to come.

St John Paul II Primary School, Belfast

Owner: Edmund Rice Schools Trust
Architect: d-on Architects, Belfast
Builder: Connolly & Fee, Dungannon

This new classroom block was procured via a Department of Education School Enhancement Programme. Situated in the socially deprived inner city, West Belfast, the project has had a dramatic and positive impact upon the local landscape.

The building consists of four classrooms and a central resource space protected by a green roof shelter which blends into the surrounding area and complements the landscape of ‘Divis’ and ‘Black Mountain’ that provide a backdrop to the school.

The building sits in a sloping area overlooked by the existing two storey classroom blocks formed in an ‘L’ shape. Accessible car park spaces and a set-down area are provided.

A ramp provides accessible transition between the approach to the existing school entrance and the level of the new classroom block. Level thresholds to each classroom are sheltered by the extended roof which affords protection from the elements for children and parents on this elevated site.

Legibility and ease of circulation are provided by coloured door frames, contrasting ironmongery and full height glazing.

State of the art promethean screens are mounted at low level in the classrooms to ensure pupil engagement and interaction.

The resource area within the centre of the building is accessed from each classroom separately. This space is well illuminated from above and is colourful. Perforated ceilings and open joint brickwork details have been incorporated internally to soften the acoustic environment.

A corridor from the resource area connects to a new accessible toilet in the existing school via delayed action automatic doors and a shallow ramp.

This new classroom block at John Paul II Primary School is a good example of providing teaching accommodation on a sloping site connecting with the existing school and its surroundings whilst achieving accessible facilities not only for the children but for the staff, parents and the local community.

Clogherney Presbytern Churh, near Beragh

Owner: The Trustees of Clogherney Presbyterian Church
Architect: Mrs Gemma Manix, Enniskillen
Builder: Fred McDowell Ltd, Omagh

Clogherney Presbyterian Church was opened in November 2017. The previous building having been knocked down as it would have required major repairs to bring it up to the required standard.

The new building is totally disabled friendly. The entrance doors are on level ground and lead into a large welcoming area with doors at both sides to the worship area.

There is a ramp leading to the platform which accommodates the pulpit and communion table. Comfortable pew chairs are provided in the worship area and this allows for a flexible seating arrangement enabling wheelchair space to be located where desired. The hymns etc are projected onto both walls at either side of the pulpit and this is a great advantage for those visually impaired.

All internal doors throughout the building are accessible to accommodate a wheelchair.

The disabled toilet has all the necessary equipment, such as, pull cord, low wash hand basin and grab rails.

This is a wonderful building in what is a very rural area and the congregation of Clogherney are to be commended for their foresight in constructing this new church, one which will serve the generations to come.

Belfast City Council – Garden of Remembrance & Cenotaph

Owner: Belfast City Council
Architect: Aecom, Belfast
Builder: John McQuillan Contracts, Lisburn

Belfast City Hall built in 1906 is the most iconic building in Belfast, anchoring civic life through the provision of accessible public space, public facilities and on-site services. The Council in recent years has taken a phased approach to ensuring that the building, its grounds and services provided therein are accessible, inclusive and welcoming not just to residents but to our ever increasing visitor numbers and all sections of our diverse community.

The Garden of Remembrance and Cenotaph area hosts two major events during each year; these are the Somme Commemoration and Remembrance Sunday. Over the years, veterans who participate in these services are becoming older and access was proving more difficult, given the difference in site levels within the Cenotaph area, with the lower area accessed only by steps and additional steps to navigate when laying ceremonial wreaths at the Cenotaph Monument.

The enhancement and refurbishment of the existing Garden of Remembrance and City Hall Cenotaph area, allow greater access for the less-abled and less mobile clients/visitors.

Accessibility improvements included:

  • Provision of permanent ramps and associated handrails;
  • Upgrade of existing lighting to bring it in line with LED lighting in place at City Hall;
  • Maintenance works included repointing of railings, specialist cleaning to the Cenotaph Memorial, repointing to all paving and replacing damaged paving.
  • Provision of accessible access to Korean War Memorial directly from Memorial Gardens.


The works have had a huge impact, making the area accessible to visitors of all abilities and were successfully completed in time for the Somme Memorial event held on 1 July 2018.

The next phase of increasing accessibility at the City Hall and in its grounds will include the construction of a ‘changing places’ facility.


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Over the last 35 years the William Keown Trust has grown into a thriving proactive and authoritative voice for people with disabilities in Northern Ireland.
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