STRAWBERRY Field, the world-famous site immortalised by John Lennon in The Beatles hit, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, is aiming to be the UK’s Number one attraction for accessibility, thanks to a series of upgraded and innovative features.
Previously a Salvation Army children’s home where John came to play and escape, Strawberry Field is now home to an interactive visitor exhibition, café, shop and gardens. With responsible tourism and well-being at its heart, this award-winning heritage site now leads the way in being accessible to all, with full wheelchair access, tours for the visually impaired and features to support the hard of hearing and other disabilities, as well as a multi-language media guide and a Changing Places toilet facility.
Through research and focus groups, the team have upgraded elements of the visitor experience to ensure that everyone is welcome. Inclusivity is at the forefront of the vision and the upgraded features are now in place, making visiting even easier for wheelchair users and those with visual, hearing and other disabilities.
Matthew Hughes-Paton, who attended one of the focus groups said: “I visited Strawberry Field along with three other visually impaired people to give feedback on the audio described tour around the visitor exhibition – we all absolutely loved it.
“Not only was the tour informative and really interesting, but it was great to visit somewhere that really took our needs into account and catered for our varying visual impairments. The tour was fully accessible with tactile elements and lots to listen to.”
To help support visitors with hearing disabilities, all video content now has added captions. Much of the innovative technology has been provided by Imagineear, a world leading developer of multimedia content.
Kathleen Versfeld, Mission Director at Strawberry Field said: “I am delighted with the progress we have made in making our attraction open to all. It fits well with our ethos within Strawberry Field and The Salvation Army of being totally inclusive. In the next year we hope to provide further facilities with tours for those with Alzheimer’s and autism”
Alongside adaptations such as guided tours, tactile exhibition features, use of colour, layout and several foreign languages, Strawberry Field is one of the first UK attractions to offer Changing Places facilities. Changing Places toilets provide more space and equipment than conventional wheelchair-accessible WCs, to meet the needs of people of all ages who need help to deal with their intimate hygiene.
For more information on Strawberry Field and to purchase tickets to the visitor exhibition, visit www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com