THE Crediton Station Tea Rooms now has a Hoist.

It was jointly funded by County Councillors Frank Letch and Mrs Margaret Squires (from their Devon County Council Locality Fund budgets) and by the Rotary Club of Crediton Boniface from recent fundraising efforts.

The hoist was provided by local business, Dolphin Stairlifts.

The Turning Tides Project (TTTP), a local Community Interest Company, now celebrating its 10th year of making equal access a reality, runs the Crediton Station Tea Rooms.

The CIC has been investing in improving the services offered to the general public whilst preserving the buildings heritage and greatly improving its accessibility.

Jane Williams, Director of The Turning Tides Project, said: “When I thanked them (Frank Letch and Margaret Squires and Garry Adams from The Rotary Club of Crediton Boniface) what I wanted to emphasise was that this wasn’t a hoist that was purchased for use by people who are part of TTTP – it was a hoist that we needed in order to make equal access to the tea rooms and its newly refurbed facilities a reality for people who use a hoist to transfer. 

I initially wanted a compact hoist that would fold in the corner of the washrooms – in hindsight, I’m glad we got something bigger – it is seen, it makes a statement.

“One of the comments we have had is that it makes the Tea Rooms look more like a Day Centre… which says a lot about how far we still must go to achieve equal access.

“Imagine yourself as someone who transfers with a hoist, imagine that your only option in terms of going out is to go to a day centre… Would you settle for that? I wouldn’t. We’ve become a café culture, that opportunity should be available to everyone.”

TTTP expect the hoist will initially be used infrequently.

Jane went on to say: “There is so little access to hoists in our community that people who need them probably spend a lot of time at home.

“What I hope is that if we shout about it being here, people who’d love to go out for tea and cake and need access to a hoist to make that possible, will come and what I hope will happen next is that some of the other lovely places to have coffee, in our community, will follow suit and get a hoist too.”

If anyone would like to talk through accessibly and inclusion, TTTP is very happy to get involved and to help in any way they can.

The Crediton Station Tea Rooms is open five days-a-week, to coffee fanatics, travellers, walkers and explorers alike. Equal Access is relevant to everybody, you are invited to be a part of that.