A Jacobean country house is bidding for up to £25,000 to improve access for the disabled – and public votes are needed to secure the funding.
The Friends of Kiplin Hall has submitted a bid to the Aviva Community Fund for the money, which would be used to create pathways for wheelchair users around the grounds.
The work would see a solid gravel path built around Kiplin’s beautiful lake, which would mean visitors with mobility problems would have access to this area.
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Bronia Gardner, Kiplin’s business and marketing manager, said: “The walk around Kiplin’s lake is glorious at all times of the year, whatever the weather, and a great way to enjoy nature.
”A variety of bird species nest on the island and can be seen on the water, from swans, geese and ducks to gulls, herons, cormorants and little egrets.
”The fresh air, exercise and sheer beauty of it all gives visitors and their dogs a satisfying sense of well-being.
“But many visitors cannot manage the lakeside walk because the path is an uneven and sometimes hazardous mixture of deep and shallow gravel, large stones, grass and mud.”
Bronia added that several years ago, two elderly Friends of Kiplin tested the route, with the husband heroically pushing his wife in her wheelchair.
Bronia said: “She was thrilled to have experienced the walk for the first time and they generously gave Kiplin a donation to purchase a wheelchair with wider and more stable wheels.”
Kiplin has wheelchairs available and five benches around the lake for visitors to rest or enjoy the tranquil environment.
However, Bronia said they were determined to do more for visitors, including families with young children and pushchairs, people with mobility issues and people with learning disabilities and dementia.
“All groups should be able to enjoy this fantastic natural environment without restriction,” Bronia added.
“If access around the lake is improved, we can also create an accessible bird hide for visitors to observe the local wildlife.”
Kiplin Hall is a self-funded charity run by a small staff and a large number of volunteers, with a strong focus on public service and access for everyone.
A bid for funding for the work has been submitted to the Aviva Community Fund and has passed the first stage.
To secure the money Kiplin now has to show public support for its plans by getting votes.
Voting opens on October 24th and ends on November 21st.
To vote for Kiplin’s project visit https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-6239