We have been working for many years to make sure that public beaches on the Polish coast are available to people with different accessibility needs: individuals with disabilities, caretakers with children, elders, and people with injuries. Despite a broad scope of our educational initiatives, drafting recommendations and consultations with local governments, many beaches remain without even the most basic accessibility features. From our observations and conversations with the representatives from local governments we concluded that there is a need for more experts in dialogue between municipalities and activists, a universal architectural design plan and a certificate that could promote and confirm local government’s work.
We will address these issues by creating and implementing a certification program in Poland that would define the criteria for a fully accessible beach. We will conduct consultations for the certificate criteria with experts on accessibility, activists, local governments, architects, and contractors. We will train individuals managing the beaches on the topic of accessibility and certification, as well as teach individuals to audit the beaches and investments overseen by the local governments. We will design a campaign entitled “The Beach for Everybody” to promote the issue of accessibility and the certification program. We would like to encourage new local governments to develop their municipalities in the direction of more access and spread the information about the state of Polish beaches. In selected municipalities interested in getting certified, we will hold open dialogue sessions “The Beach for Everybody – Local Needs” that will be attended by local government representatives, NGOs and the citizens.
Jastarnia Municipality will be the project’s partner. We have been collaborating for several years on beach accessibility at the Hel Peninsula. This ongoing collaboration will allow us to implement a pilot certification program.