The Ehlers-Danlos Support UK (EDS) has awarded Belfast Zoo their first ever Community Champion Award!
The brand new award scheme was started by the charity as a way to recognise and highlight organisations which have embraced inclusivity and to inspire others to do the same.
Ehlers-Danlos Support UK Managing Director, Kay Julier, commented, “We were very impressed with the level of commitment and investment made to make the zoo fully accessible. The changes are already benefiting people with EDS, like our Belfast volunteer Caitriona. Belfast Zoo has really set the standard for our community champion awards. We are so pleased to give them our very first award”.
Recent improvements to Belfast Zoo include the installation of a brand new Changing Places toilet facility, designed with enough space and equipment for people who are not able to use the toilet independently.
Other recent improvements include the upgrading of accessible car parking bays to provide direct low-level access to the zoo’s visitor centre, and introduction of the ‘Zoo-mobile’, a wheelchair accessible vehicle offering Inclusive Tours around the zoo.
Acting Zoo Manager, Andrew Hope, said, “We are delighted to have been given this award from EDS UK. Belfast Zoo is for everyone to enjoy and we want to offer the best possible experience for anyone who comes through our gates. Belfast City Council who own and operate the zoo, have made significant accessibility improvements to the site over the past year and we are delighted to have this recognised by EDS UK. It is a great honour to not only receive the Community Champion Award but to be the first winner of its kind.”
EDS UK is the only UK charity to offer support to people touched by all types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of thirteen individual genetic conditions, all of which affect the body’s connective tissue.