News from the Geopark

Visual Guides reassure as English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark Sites re-open

4 Dec 2020

The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark has worked with partners and Living Options, an Exeter based charity, to create a suite of ten visual guides to help people feel comfortable and confident when they visit sites around the Geopark. 

The Visual Guides are availabe via the Rediscover the Geopark page on the Geopark website here.  

With many feeling vulnerable or anxious about getting out and about once again the aim of each guide is to give the reader a clear understanding of exactly what to expect when visiting places in order that they can be fully prepared and remove the ‘fear of the unknown’.

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said ‘The importance of these Visual Guides is relevant now more than ever; with sites beginning to re-open, wanting to attract visitors, and yet many people in our communities feeling too vulnerable or nervous to venture out to such places. These Guides will help alleviate some of their concerns by informing them exactly what they can expect during their visit.

Visual Guides are now available for Brixham Heritage Museum, Torquay Museum, Torre Abbey, Kents Cavern, and Reach Outdoors and these will be followed by further guides for Berry Head Cockington Court,  Palace Theatre, Artizan Gallery and then next spring, once back in the water, for Vigilance.

Nick Powe said ‘Each Visual Guide is a site specific online tool to help people plan and consider their visit to a new place. The Visual Guide shows anything from functional information like entry prices, parking and facilities, but also highlights elements like sound levels, lighting types, spaces and bespoke features that may cause alarm or confusion.’

Heather Brown of Living Options said ‘We originally developed the Guides to benefit people on the Autistic Spectrum and, indeed, we have found they have helped neurodiverse children and adults feel comfortable and confident delving into the somewhat alien world of our industrial past. However, we have quickly learned that the Visual Guide can benefit many people including those who have physical mobility issues and those with social anxiety.’

The production of the guides, funded through the Torbay Council Voluntary and Community Sector Covid-19 Grants Scheme, not only support these sites with improving accessibility for visitors with disabilities, but also support their recovery plans and the re-opening of sites in line with Government Guidelines. Please note Brixham Heritage Museum is now closed for the winter as normal.  For all other sites please visit their websites for latest updates and information on opening hours.

For more information about special arrangements and the access the Visual Guides  click here