In Brussels, approximately 10% of the population is handicapped, and 40% may be considered to have reduced mobility, whether of a temporary or permanent nature. Based on this, hub.brussels considers it important to assess just how practicable our capital is. The aim: to make business owners aware of the importance of having accessible business premises, but also, and more importantly, to inform the Persons with Reduced Mobility about the businesses which already do. Yours, for example?
The notion of “persons with reduced mobility” refers to anyone confronted, either temporarily or permanently, with a reduction in their mobility: sight or hearing impairments, pregnancy, motor problems, etc.
Whether this handicap is temporary or permanent, very few facilities are currently in place which allow the PRM to access the various city infrastructures. At the end of 2015, in collaboration with the Association AMT Concept, hub.brussels launched a study into business accessibility, starting in the European District.
Visibility for “PRM Friendly” businesses
A team of hubemployees was put together to analyse the accessibility of a business based on precise and exhaustive criteria: width of the door, possible existence of steps, internal/external space, etc. The data collected was then shared on a dedicated website bruxellespourtous.be, in a guide, as well as on the platform shopinbrussels.be, using accessibility symbols. Clear and legible, this labelling should allow the PRM to see those businesses that are adapted to their handicap in just a few clicks.
“Collaborating with hub.brussels is ideal”, rejoices Miguel Gerez, director of AMT Concept. “The field agents know the area, they have direct contact with the business owners, and this makes it a lot easier to raise their awareness. Combining the expertise that both AMT Concept and hub.brussels have in the subject can only result in a winning solution being found for everyone! We are currently working on harmonising our two sites in order to make communicating with the PRM as direct as possible.”
Extending the study to the whole Region
As a result of hub’s pilot study in the European District, it has emerged that fewer than half of the businesses are presently accessible by PRM. With time, the Agency therefore intends to extend its study to the entire Region so that it can get a clear idea of the context within Brussels as a whole.
The aim of this is to make business owners aware of the difficulties encountered by Persons with Reduced Mobility as well as train hub’s Starters coaches in this reality so that they can work upstream to educate any future business owners.