This year’s Devon County Show, will be its most accessible yet, thanks to a new initiative to increase inclusivity.

The changes will include:

  • A high dependency mobile disabled toilet unit, equipped with a hoist.
  • Accessibility stewards around the site.
  • Chairs outside all accessible toilet facilities
  • BSL interpreter in the viewing area, which will be alongside the public grandstand. Students from the D/deaf Academy will also be on hand to provide sign language.
  • A quiet zone and sensory garden will be provided.

All staff, volunteers and stewards will receive disability awareness training prior to the show and there will be an award for the best accessible trade stand. Another new addition to this year’s show will be a Jungle Garden, which will provide local lad, Ned Riley, the chance to share his passion and knowledge of reptiles and bugs. Ned is autistic and there will be full details about the Jungle Garden and his involvement nearer the time.

The quiet zone is being sponsored by Hippychick and will offer a calm setting with seating, sensory lighting and toys. The sensory garden is being designed and installed by Devon in Sight, an Exeter-based charity providing support to those with visual impairments. Visitors will have the chance to wear glasses as they navigate the garden that simulate different types of visual impairment.

Other changes include a ban on retractable dog leads and a call to traders with raised stands to bring ramps in order to accommodate accessibility for wheelchair users. The changes are being implemented following a site audit that was carried out by Chloe, a wheelchair user and her assistance dog.

Speaking to reporters, Devon County Show’s manager, said: “We have always prided ourselves on being an accessible show with several elements already in place to facilitate access for everyone, regardless of their ability. As a constantly evolving show, we recognise that there’s always room for improvement.

“It has been incredibly useful having Chloe working with us and giving us such a detailed insight into the show from her perspective.”

As a thank you to Chloe and her assistance dog, Ocho, the Devon County Show has donated £1,000 towards Ocho’s upkeep this year.

The Devon County Show runs from 16th -18th May, find out more and book tickets here.