Q&A with the winner, Luke Anderson:
1) Congratulations! What’s your project all about?
We are so incredibly thankful for The Awesome Foundation’s support, we are super excited to start embarking on the design of our new website that will be funded with the grant money. In our eyes the website is the portal for big things to come, it will give The Ramp Project wings and help the project extend its reach across the country and beyond. Right now we have a blog which has been working well for us but we have outgrown the venue, the website will provide clarity on what we have to offer. The StopGap website will explain how our school programs operate, it will make all of the required ramp building resources available such that communities can take on their own ramp projects, it will explain our ability to provide inclusive design consulting and of course it will provide a venue for us to share our successes in the form of photos and customer feedback.
The Ramp Project is an ongoing project that was conceived last fall. With help from community hardware stores and help from volunteers businesses with single stepped storefronts are invited to participate and have a custom ramp made at no cost. The brightly coloured ramps do not present a perfect solution to the problem however they create curiosity and get people talking about this huge design issue. The project has introduced many to the human right to equal access and has broadened the conversation on this topic.
The ramp project has been successful at highlighting how a simple ramp can make life easier for everyone. Participants have shared that a ramped storefront is more inviting. Parents pushing strollers, couriers using dollies to handle heavy packages and people using mobility aides all benefit from a barrier free storefront. The project has also proved that business owners are able to increase their customer base by providing a storefront that everyone can enter and exit. Supporters of the initiative hope that through these types of projects communities will create legislation of their own instead of waiting until the projected due date outlined in the AODA – that being 2025.
2) In your most optimistic dreams, how many ramps do you think your project can inspire into being in the next year?
The sky’s the limit really when it comes to our prediction of how many ramps we will build in the next year but if we were to throw out a hopeful guess – hmmmm… I think 500 is manageable! We already have close to 60 under our belt, we have worked out the kinks and are very close to finishing up the resource materials that will be available on the website. Oh! We were also thinking about including a ramp counter on the website as well, and a list of all the businesses that are participating in the project. We think this will be a fun component! We embarked on this initiative with the intention of it being fun and we intend to keep it that way.
3) How can we get involved and/or follow your progress?
We are always looking for volunteers to help us with Ramp Projects. We have a really big project underway in the Roncesvalles neighborhood whereby we are looking for participation from all of the business owners with a single stepped storefront. These storefronts will be outfitted with a free temporary access ramp. We have touched base with only about 35 businesses to date and we believe there to be close to 125 potential participants. Pollock’s hardware store has been super generous in donating all of the materials required to build the ramps but we are going to need some serious help with building and painting them! [Editor: the stopgap blog has their email address and other details if you want to contact them and get involved]