Wheelchair Friendly Office Arrives In the Capital

by Heather Peebles

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Blackwood HQExperts in supporting people with disabilities have turned the focus on their own HQ – to create one of the most accessible offices in the capital.

With a wealth of experience improving the quality of life for Scots with disabilities through specialised property adaptations, care and housing provider Blackwood, is now set to enjoy a makeover of its own.

By investing in state of the art technology for its new Dundee Street offices, Blackwood is ensuring they are completely wheelchair friendly.

To help achieve its goal of creating a workplace capable of fully meeting the needs of staff and visitors, Blackwood drafted in experts in creative workplace design, Space Solutions.

Associate Director at Space Solutions, Gordon Roy, said: “We were thrilled to work on such an exciting and challenging project for Blackwood.

“After sitting down with members of the Blackwood team, it was obvious they had a clear vision of what they wanted the offices to look like which reflected their strong brand identity. Our role was to turn that vision into a reality.

“The finalised proposals look great and the space will feel both modern and accessible. Not only have we echoed the Blackwood ethos of accessibility which is at the core of the organisation and the services they provide, we have also been sympathetic to its brand and created a great working environment.

“We’re thoroughly looking forward to seeing the end results and believe it will deliver a workplace that inspires staff and visitors, boost staff morale and ultimately make a much better place for Blackwood employees to work, which really gets the best out of people.”

As part of the renovations, the new offices will boast a range of technology to help meet the needs of disabled employees and visitors, including specially designed work stations which can instantly be made wheelchair accessible.

There will also be a “rise and fall” kitchen in the social area, where worktops and sink areas can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button so that the space can be accessed and enjoyed by all.

To help get an insight into office suitability for disabled users, Blackwood carried out an accessibility road test by two Blackwood tenants who are wheelchair users to get their insights and suggestions of what they would like to be included in new premises.

Fanchea Kelly, who took over the Chief Executive role at Blackwood last year, said: “After almost 30 years in the same building it is definitely time for change. Our old premises were beginning to look tired and were not the easiest for disabled users to access.

“We are delighted with the designs for our new offices and believe they represent a far better reflection of what Blackwood is all about by integrating a range of the same special adaptations which make our properties the kind of places where people can live as independently as possible.

“It’s an exciting time ahead for Blackwood as we are making many major changes to meet the challenges in health, housing and welfare. The new premises are very much a part of how we are adapting and improving.

“All of our staff are looking forward to making the move and working in such a modern and inclusive environment.”

 Notes to Editor

Blackwood has 350 staff across Scotland managing 1600 properties and individual care packages for more than 400 people. That sees it working in 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, more than any other care or housing provider. Around 60 of the staff are based in the Edinburgh headquarters.

Blackwood was established by Dr Margaret Blackwood in 1972 and is recognised as Scotland’s leading experts in property adaptations to help those with disabilities live life to the full.

Among the people who now benefit from its expert services are the elderly, those with physical or learning disabilities, mental health issues or sensory impairment, While Blackwood focuses on helping tenants to live as independently as possible.

Private: Heather Peebles

Based as a PR in Edinburgh, Heather Peebles is a highly-valued member of the team at Holyrood Partnership. Her work with the Scottish public relations consultancy sees her advising clients in healthcare, construction, renewables and logistics. As well as delivering numerous successful PR campaigns, she is also experienced in crisis PR and reputation management.

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