FOR able-bodied people, being able to stroll into a cafe or a shop is simple.

In fact most of us don’t even think about it.

But what about those with disabilities?

Whilst most businesses and venues do their best in making their premises more accessible, there is still a lot of work to be done before people with a variety of disabilities can lead their lives without endless hurdles holding them back.

That’s where the Tweeddale Access Panel steps in to help. Run by a group of volunteers both disabled and able-bodied, they work together to improve access and inclusion for people with disabilities in local communities.

The group do this by highlighting the problems faced by people with disabilities, and hope to change attitudes amongst the general public about the need for inclusive access.

With the dawning of a new decade and a desire to help local citizens and visitors with disabilities, a new online access guide has been launched for Peebles.

Chairman of the Tweeddale Access Panel, Paul Nichol says the organisation works across all of Tweeddale and looks at access in its broadest sense.

“Examples of the things which we focus on are physical building access and usage, accessible accommodation for people with disabilities including wheelchair users and access to information and services for people with hearing and sight impairments. We are also asked to look at disabled parking and drop kerb locations to see if changes are required.”

The group have been working on migrating from a paper-based access guide to an online interactive guide.

Funding from the Scottish Executive via Disability Equality Scotland has allowed members of the Tweeddale Access Panel to develop the online access guide for Peebles which gives an interactive search for anyone living in or visiting the town, and enables a search across different categories such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Paul explained: “What this means is that anyone in or visiting the town can search places to see if they are accessible and within that how accessible they are, for example the number of steps to get to the front door, ease of getting around the premises, accessibility of shelves.

“We have collected all of this information by doing surveys of all premises in Peebles that have agreed to this.”

Business owners are now being invited to explore the online guide and check the information being displayed is correct. If you wish to add your opening hours or your premises and submit a photograph email

If your business is not listed and you would like to be included in the guide you can arrange for a member to do a survey or you can complete one online.

You can find the new access guide by visiting where all businesses are listed alphabetically.