Livability maximises disabled accessibility with new national office

After nearly 20 years, Livability has moved its national office team from old premises in Shoreditch, to a new office space on the Greenwich Peninsula.

The charity has placed disability, accessibility and design as a major priority for the relocation project. Engaging a specialist DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) consultant and Morgan Lovell – the UK’s leading office interior design, fit out and refurbishment specialist – Livability tasked the building team with creating a working space optimised for collaboration, inclusion and accessibility.

Livability CEO, Dave Webber said:

‘Livability has a large number of disabled service users and staff, and it was essential to us that we created a national office that is open and welcoming to all.

‘The location of North Greenwich has been chosen to be a fully accessible, step-free location and we are proud that office environment has been designed to meet excellent standards of accessibility.’

The new premises will be an important work and community space that will be required for the exciting new chapter for the Livability family. The new space will operate as a values driven and fully accessible gathering point for service and projects staff, service users, supporters, donors, partners and volunteers.

Watch how Livability created an accessible and inclusive working environment:

Livability’s home in East London

Livability’s national office team had been based on Scrutton Street in Shoreditch in a five-floor building near London Liverpool Street station.

The premises had been used to support Livability’s charitable operation for almost 20 years. Originally the home of John Grooms, it became ‘Livability’ following the merger of charities John Groom and Shaftesbury Society in 2008.

Livability’s Scrutton Street office had limitations as a work environment.

Whilst the Shoreditch location have served the charity well the office did have some limitations. Although equipped with accessibility measures, it was not optimised for accessibility. To stay in the premises would have required a large range of redevelopment work and investment in years to come. The charity took the decision to move into a more up-to-date and fully equipped setting.

Livability’s charity work is on an exciting journey of change and development – a changing vision and strategic direction, a growing number of new projects and new approaches to the organisation’s work are all in the mix.

The new office location will enable Livability to create a contemporary and fully resourced working space, which will enable a more flexible and responsive productive environment for staff in the 21st century.

Jason King, Web and Digital Manager said:

‘We are really excited that all the staff at the national office are now on one floor,’ said Jason King from the Communications and Campaigns Team. ‘It will encourage collaboration and a stronger team spirit and will really improve communication.’

An environment designed with disabled accessibility at the centre

To create a space that is completely accessible to all levels of mobility, Livability put a lot of careful planning into every aspect of the building design.

Facilities have been specially designed to be as accessible as possible

All the furniture and fit out aspects have been designed with disabled users in mind with height adjustable desks for wheelchair users, open breakout booths, with no high sides to ensure they’re completely inclusive.

All doors are automatic and provide extra width for wheelchair access

Office signage carries braille and the office is column free, using different coloured carpeting to help visitors navigate through the office with ease.

Office signage, including taps, carries braille

Located by North Greenwich tube station, and on the site of the O2 arena, the site enjoys excellent step-free access for wheelchair users. In addition, the office has a large public car park in the immediate vicinity and a good range of transport options are available.

A new community hub for the Livability family

Set across one floor, the office’s large open plan environment will maximise disabled access, collaboration, creativity and community and includes a communal cafe, meeting points and think spaces.

‘Our move is not just a leap into a new office, it’s a leap into an entire new way of working for Livability’, said CEO Dave Webber. ‘With regional and local teams around the country, it’s important to Livability that our national office can operate as an important community hub and gathering point for the Livability family as a whole.

‘This new office will play a key role in how we provide our services and connect with staff, supporters and service users.’

The new open plan space carries a modern and contemporary design with lots of light and community working spaces.

Morgan Lovell London were appointed by Livability to design and deliver the fit out of the new office. Peter Weston, Director of Morgan Lovell London, said:

‘We are delighted with what has been achieved with Livability and are very proud to have completed the transformation of their new Greenwich office, marking a new chapter for the charity. We worked closely with key stakeholders and staff with varying levels of mobility to ensure that the brief was met fully, putting accessibility at the heart of the design and creating spaces that are entirely inclusive.

‘It’s great to see the finished space that has been created in line with these values, which maintains the level of support Livability offers the community, staff and volunteers. We wish them continued success in their new headquarters.’

Watch what it took to create a fully accessible national office: