Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

County Council recognised in Access for All Awards

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hampshire County Council's efforts to make its services accessible to everyone have been recognised in the New Forest Access for All Awards 2013.

Lymington Library was Highly Commended in the Community Facilities Category. The library is also host to the Lymington Register Office.

The North Close based site has the benefit of accessible parking, level access, a hearing loop and a wheelchair accessible toilet. People who are deaf can access a signing service and guide dogs are welcome at the library.

Sue Smith, manager of Lymington Library, said: "We were very pleased to receive the commendation as we try very hard to ensure that access is not an issue when using Lymington Library. We want everyone to feel welcome and be able to make the most of their visit. We believe that what is good for disabled library customers usually helps all of our users."

The Ringwood Gateway scooped the top accolade in the Community Facilities Category, a year after it was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent in October 2012.

The Ringwood Gateway is a one stop shop for council services in the heart of the New Forest. It brings together a number of services provided by Ringwood Town Council, New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council under one roof, in an efficient and cost-effective way for the local taxpayer.

The project is no stranger to winning awards. It won the award for 'Best Partnership Project' at LABC's South East Building Excellence Awards in July and has a BREEAM excellent rating for its sustainable design.

Not only is the building operating collaboratively, its construction was too. The project was designed by Hampshire County Council's Property Services and building regulation approval was carried out by its partner, Fareham and Gosport Building Control, with local site inspections by New Forest District Council - all supported by an innovative online system to share data and information about the progress of the project. The partnership project was successfully built on time and on budget.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, added: "I must congratulate Lymington Library and its staff for their Highly Commended award and all those involved in The Ringwood Gateway for winning the Community Facilities Category. As the public sector continues to face ongoing financial pressures as a result of reduced levels of Government funding, this latest accolade illustrates how effective collaboration and the sharing of accommodation can benefit local communities. This partnership approach has already earned the County Council praise from Government, and it is vital that we continue to work together with our partners on projects such as these, to find new ways to do things better and more efficiently so that we can continue to transform and modernise our services whilst retaining high quality and value."

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