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Accessibility efforts merit seven awards

The city’s Barrier Free Committee has handed out seven awards for outstanding contributions by groups and individuals towards better accessibility.

“Thank you for your role in recognizing the leaders in our community who are making a real difference,” Mayor Karen Farbridge said after Julie Goodwin presented the awards at the start of the last council meeting.
These were the Access Recognition Awards handed out:

Outstanding contribution by organizations  

2Rivers Festival Group, represented by Sue Rietschin and Patti Maurice, was recognized for modifying its program to eliminate mobility barriers. This included choosing accessible venues, marking these on festival brochures and being open to suggestions on how to improve accessibility.

Hillside Festival, represented by Marie Zimmerman, has become a model for other organizations looking to improve accessibility of outdoor events, Goodwin said. Hillside “also supplies ear plugs in an effort to prevent hearing loss.”

Guelph Soccer, represented by Mauricio and Rubin Flores, was recognized for offering a modified program for children with disabilities to teach them the basics of soccer.

Community-based program Diabetes Care Guelph, represented by Sam Marzouk, Ross Kirkconnell and Dr. Steven Traplin, was honoured for its work in offering a variety of services and addressing problems associated with diabetes. It provides home visits and has four Guelph locations.

The Athletic Centre and the Physical Resources Departments at the University of Guelph, represented by Justin Selby, was recognized for removing a significant barrier to women and children by installing automatic door openers for women’s change rooms. Among its users are females who have had strokes or joint replacements or are undergoing chemotherapy.

Outstanding contribution by individuals

This award was presented to Jean McClelland, who has chaired the city’s Barrier Free Committee for several years. She has shown “a life-long commitment to empowering people with a disability,” Goodwin said.

Community of Hearts co-founders Andrea Kretz, Jason Dudgeon and Susan Wahlroth were recognized for their work with the organization. It provides structured programs to help people with intellectual disabilities work towards independence, as well as giving them opportunities for recreational and social engagement.

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