This year, the Devon County Show will introduce several new initiatives to increase inclusivity and accessibility.

The changes have come about due to a site audit carried out at the 2023 show by Chloe Hammond, a wheelchair user, and her assistance dog, Ocho.

The new initiatives at this year's show are as follows: 

  • A high dependency mobile disabled toilet unit, equipped with a hoist
  •  A call to traders with raised stands to bring ramps in order to accommodate accessibility for wheelchair users
  • Accessibility stewards
  • Ban on retractable dog leads
  • Signing students from the deaf academy for the deaf community
  • Chairs outside all accessible toilet facilities
  • Signing by a BSL interpreter in the ‘Accessible Viewing Area’ which is located alongside the public grandstand next to the main arena, on at least one day of the show
  • A new award for the best ‘accessible’ trade stand
  • Disability awareness training for all Devon County Show staff, volunteers and stewards

There will also be new features at the show focused around inclusivity.

These include a Quiet Zone made available for the use of neurodivergent children where they can decompress if things get too overwhelming.

A sensory garden will be added for those with visual impairment, focusing on sound, smell and feel.

A jungle garden will provide Ned Riley, an autistic 20-year-old, with the chance to share his passion and knowledge of reptiles and bugs.

For more information, click here.

Show manager, Lisa Moore, 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. But 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.  She recognises that we can’t reinvent the wheel in year one, and many of her recommendation have been small steps but ones which, I’m convinced, will make a really big difference to Devon County Show goers living with a disability.”

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