In September 2022, Eastbourne Access Group, became part of Possability People.

Eastbourne Access Group have a long and successful history of making positive changes for disabled people in Eastbourne. They have a strong and well respected voice which always brings the needs of disabled people into sharp focus.

The Access Group was started over 40 years ago to defend and support the rights of disabled people in Eastbourne. On 25 March 1981, ‘Access for the Disabled Project’ meeting was held at Linden Court.  It was founded by Dr Walter Wigfield, Jean and Bob Arnold, George Williams and Bob Mundy. Bunny Shaw was the group’s first chair, with Mary Kenword as secretary.

Parking was a key issue at the time, as was access to the Devonshire Park complex, pavement repairs,  accessible toilets and wheelchair accessible public transport.

1997 saw disability awareness raised in junior schools in Eastbourne, and an access audit of Eastbourne District General Hospital was completed.

In 2006, Ian Westgate became chair of the Access Group, which was refocused as a pressure group to raise awareness of the needs of disabled people, as an information service, and to raise funds to carry out this work.

In February 2007, The Disability Involvement Group began as an involvement group for the Borough Council, and in March 2012, the Eastbourne Access Guide was launched.

In 2021, Ian Westgate, former EAG chair, was awarded an MBE for services to disabled people. He was featured in the Sussex Express.

Eastbourne Access Group has continued to push for improved access across the town, contributing time, expertise and a lived experience to hotels, the redevelopment of the Arndale Centre (now the Beacon), events, volunteering and shared spaces.

We hope that by providing support under the Possability People umbrella, we can amplify that voice so more people and organisations are aware of how crucial it is to involve and include disabled people in planning and delivering services which are truly accessible.