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Woodbridge, Suffolk
Talks and lectures

RIBA East Conservation Group presents: The balance of accessibility and inclusion in heritage settings

The RIBA East Conservation Group is pleased to present an online talk from Sarah Sorrell, Director at Chartered Building Engineer at Oakley Estates.

The RIBA East Conservation Group is pleased to present an online talk from Sarah Sorrell, Director at Chartered Building Engineer at Oakley Estates.

About the talk
Discussing the positive outcomes of improving accessibility and inclusion within heritage settings, it is understood that good quality access can enhance our understanding of the historic environment and ensure its sustainability.

The discussion will look at the challenges faced when constraints of regulation appear to impinge on the ability to alter physical barriers. We will look holistically at how these settings are used and appreciated in order to improve accessibility, as well as using innovative design methods to overcome challenges.

Whether during pregnancy, as a parent pushing a buggy, or as an older person who is finding steps a bit harder to manage, we all value thoughtful and effective design for our access needs and it's easier than you may think to make a difference and create positive changes. While the needs of disabled people must be a priority, we also know that easier access will benefit almost all of us at some stage in our lives and it is important to open up our heritage assets to the broadest group of society as possible. In restoring and opening up these valuable community assets it is important to promote good quality solutions that make access easier while simultaneously encouraging responsible care of the historic places that matter to us all. We will also discuss the legislation that drives the need to be inclusive and the implications and impacts of both compliance and non-compliance.

About the speaker
Having been a Property Surveyor for over 20 years, Sarah Sorrell took the decision in January 2020 to set up her own surveying and access consultancy. She started many years ago as an Architectural Technician after undertaking design qualifications and then went on to gain a BSc(Hons) in Building Surveying, after an initial BSc in Architectural Technology. Sarah is also now a Chartered Building Engineer.

Sarah's roles over the years have increasingly seen her working with adults with various disabilities, most recently as a regional property surveyor with Mencap. She has developed a real passion for creating inclusive environments through design and refurbishment, and now in her new business, she undertakes access audits, and design appraisals, and advises clients on how they can make positive changes to be more inclusive. Her clients include industries such as culture, heritage, leisure, and hospitality.

Sarah firmly believes that inclusive design can be both functional and practical but also beautiful. Sarah will talk about how to consider and implement inclusive access for historic buildings at the design stage.

Questions are welcomed. Please either raise your query during the session or email Juliet Talbot.

The event will be hosted by the RIBA East Conservation Group.