THE Bathurst Regional Access Committee (BRAC) is encouraging businesses to apply for funding that could help them open up their premises to more people.
Each year Bathurst Regional Council, in partnership with the access committee, offers the Bathurst Access Improvement Grants.
In the past, funds were used to complete paths, build access ramps, install automatic doors and build or modify accessible toilets.
Businesses, community organisations and sporting groups within the Bathurst region may apply for funding of 50 per cent of project costs up to a maximum of $5000 on a dollar for dollar basis.
Unfortunately, on many occasions council has had grant funds left over as not enough businesses applied.
To prevent this happening again, BRAC interim chairperson Bob Triming has been personally delivering information to businesses.
On July 18, he and wife Kaye visited 140 businesses.
He said they ran out of brochures with about 40 businesses still on their radar. They did another round of deliveries on Wednesday.
Mr Triming said that now nearly 200 businesses had that information in hand, which will hopefully lead to more applications.
"When we last did it was when I was last chairperson, in 2019. Kaye and I did the same thing and as a result we got six applications, we didn't have enough money for all of them," he said.
"Last year [the committee] didn't print out the council brochures at all and they only got one application."
A lot of Bathurst businesses would only need to make minor improvements to address their access issues.
"The majority of the street level shops that aren't accessible only have a step to overcome, just one step," Mr Triming said.
"... There's one shop in George street where $20 worth of concrete for a miniature ramp to overcome a varying gradient step, it would solve the problem.
"In a lot of cases it can be overcome easily."
Mr Triming said that making premises more accessible not only benefits people with a disability, but the business itself.
"It gives them access to another 20 per cent of their prospective customer base, if not more," he said.
"Take me for instance: if I can't get into a shop, my wife doesn't go either, and if we're with the rest of my family ... that's five people who end up not going to a particular business because I can't get in."
Applications for the grants close on August 13. Information can be found on council's website.
Mr Triming said he is also happy to meet with business owners to advise them on what they can do to make their premises accessible in a cost-effective way.
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