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1st Bradford shopping centre car park to achieve People’s Parking accreditation

People’s Parking, founded by independent mobility consultant Helen Dolphin MBE in 2016, works to improve car parks for customer needs, highlighting the facilities for disabled people, parents, commuters, cyclists and those who drive wheelchair accessible vehicles or camper vans.

Kirkgate Shopping Centre in Bradford celebrates People’s Parking accreditation (l-r) centre manager Catherine Riley, Helen Dolphin MBE with assistance dog Fairmount; Emmerson Walgrove, Chair of the Bradford and District Disabled People’s Forum (BDPF) and Team GB Paralympian Coral Batey

Kirkgate Shopping, which has more than 600 spaces accessible from its entrance on Godwin Street, has met the scheme’s criteria which requires the car park to be safely lit, clean, have safe pedestrian access, good signage and the enforcement of designated bays. In addition, it has been awarded extra accreditations for being family friendly, great for shoppers and convenient for commuters. Responding to today’s 91,000 Blue Badge holders within the Yorkshire and Humber region, the centre has also been awarded an accreditation for being accessible for disabled people.

Helen Dolphin MBE, quadruple amputee and disability campaigner, said: “As a disabled person I have often struggled to get in and out of car parks. I find it incredibly difficult to take tickets out of machines and to put coins into slots. By making a few simple changes, many car parks can make themselves accessible to disabled people and in doing so attract more customers.

“However, access isn’t just something which affects disabled people; parents with children can find it difficult to get them in and out of vehicles in standard sized bays and people driving high-sided vehicles have very few parking opportunities off-street. I founded People’s Parking to help demonstrate safe, easy and well-equipped car parks for any customer with a specific requirement. I’m really delighted that Kirkgate Shopping achieved my accreditation and I hope it will encourage other shopping centres to follow their lead.”

Kirkgate Shopping Centre  celebrates People’s Parking accreditation (l-r) Helen Dolphin MBE, centre manager Catherine Riley and Team GB Paralympian Coral Batey

The shopping centre has 30 bays for disabled shoppers situated close to the entrances on both levels and there are 29 extra wide parent and child bays to ensure unloading prams is easy.

Bradford Paralympian and Team GB wheelchair rugby player, Coral Batey, who regularly shops at Kirkgate Shopping, said: “Accessible parking in Bradford can be difficult to find, particularly designated areas which have been left clear so I’m really pleased that Kirkgate Shopping’s car park has been recognised by People’s Parking for its accessibility, more car parks should definitely aim for this.”

Catherine Riley, centre manager at Kirkgate Shopping, said: “We’re extremely proud to have received the People’s Parking accreditations. Ensuring our car park is safe, accessible and easy to use for all is a top priority.

“We know how important it is to retain a sense of independence during daily errands such as a shopping trip and we’ve taken this into account in the centre. Our Godwin Street, Westgate and Darley Street entrances are all wheelchair accessible, we operate a wheelchair loan service and a Blue Badge holder free parking scheme. Of course, our staff are always on hand for further support both in the car park and centre itself.”

Kirkgate Shopping opened its doors in 1976 following a £4million investment in what was deemed by the media as a ‘space age shopping centre’. The centre has been managed by Catherine Riley since 1994. A refurbishment took place in 2000 with new flooring, newly positioned escalators and new signage

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