A free program and demonstration on “Wheelchair Accessibility in Belfast” will be presented Thursday, May 12, at 6 p.m., in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Public Library on High Street. Store owners and managers are especially invited.

The program will be presented by the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, which has made ambulatory accessibility in Belfast a major project. A spokesperson for SJC said the project was started for three reasons: 1. To support ambulatory disabled veterans; 2. To support the local ambulatory disabled community; 3. To support local businesses in a way that will benefit them as well.

Several months ago, an SJC member conducted a survey of all Belfast businesses and found that about 50 percent were accessible to those who are ambulatory disabled, or those who get around using a cane, walker, crutches, wheelchair or power wheelchair.

As a result of a demonstration on the use of a portable ramp by SJC before the Belfast City Council, the project received the support of the council as well.

The public is invited to the May 12 program and SJC hopes to hear stories from the ambulatory disabled regarding experiences getting around the city and any problems they may have faced entering stores, restaurants and other establishments.

As a result of the SJC study and influence, a number of Belfast businesses which previously were not accessible are now with the use of light and portable steel ramps. A demonstration of the ramp will be given at the program.

A spokesperson for SJC said that the primary goal is to see Belfast become a model city for wheelchair accessibility.