WECIL’s Access & Inclusion Team (WAIT), formerly known as Bristol Physical Access Chain (BPAC), is a group of disabled people who volunteer their time to improve the quality of life, inclusion and access for all people in Bristol,
WAIT work with building owners, organisations, developers and service providers within the private and public sector to improve and promote access and inclusion for all within the built environment.
BPAC was originally an access group within Bristol City Council, providing accessibility support for council owned buildings and venues. In 2019 BPAC joined WECIL, bringing a wealth of expertise in the field of access to WECIL’s Access Audit service and ensuring the continued success of BPAC, which continued to thrive under its new management.
Having recently gone through a rebrand of the group, BPAC updated its name to WAIT, WECIL Access and Inclusion Team. This reflects not only the group’s move to WECIL, but its expansion of its interest to improve accessibility across the whole of the country. WAIT has already been commissioned to do work in Wiveliscombe, Weston-Super-Mare, Edinburgh and London.
Dominic Ellison, Chief Executive Officer at WECIL, said “This combined team have recognised for some time the need to raise awareness that we are one merged organisation – so the new name, which was decided by our volunteers, delivers this message perfectly. ‘WECIL Access & Inclusion Team’ shows that this panel of experts by experience are truly embedded within WECIL’s wider support to external organisations, while the acronym ‘WAIT’ reminds developers of the costs incurred when building projects plough ahead without meaningful engagement with a wide range of potential users – those costs being expensive retrofitting, compromised design aesthetic, or worse – the discriminatory exclusion of a fifth of our society from places and services.”
It is hoped the move will enable the group to recruit new members, especially amongst younger disabled people, and develop an industry-leading service building on the user-led expertise of WECIL.
Phil Gingell, Chair of WAIT, said “The group continues to work closely with Bristol City Council, a link that goes back to the very beginnings of its work. This partnership is very important, both to the group and the people of Bristol and will, hopefully, remain strong. As WAIT builds other links throughout the region it hopes to improve the lives of disabled people and make inclusion key in planning decisions across the West Country.”