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Accessible heritage sites for all

Interview with Jak Derrick- Ross, Accessibility Ambassador for Levant Tin Mine

Date Posted: 31 October 2019

We would like to introduce Jak Derrick- Ross the Accessibility Ambassador and Senior Visitor Experience Officer for Levant Tin Mine and Beam Engine in Cornwall.

We recently interviewed Jak about being an Accessibility Ambassador and why he chose to be the voice of disabled visitors to Levant Tin Mine. 

Jak, how long have you been with Levant, and what did you do before?
I have been with Levant Mine and Beam Engine for nearly a year. I was initially hired as a Visitor Experience Officer in August 2018 and was promoted to a Senior Visitor Experience Officer in May 2019. However, I have been working in the Visitor Attraction industry for nearly six years now. I have gained a wealth of knowledge in visitor management and operations from previous roles. These roles have included working for the Trust at the Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver, Canada.
 
Why did you decide to be an ambassador?
I decided to become an ambassador for a few reasons; the first and most important one is to get as many visitors as possible to come and experience our World Heritage Site! Levant, like many industrial heritage sites, has many problems and challenges it faces to become accessible for everyone. These, although difficult, are no excuse for not striving always to be as open as we can. I would also like to understand the needs of our audience further and help remove any barriers which may stop people from visiting.
 
How does this fit in with your current role?
As Senior Visitor Experience Officer, I am tasked with the daily running of the attraction as well as duty management, which fits perfectly with the role of Accessibility Ambassador. As I work on the floor in a public-facing role, I can see and understand the issues that may affect people visiting. Then as a duty manager, I can implement changes and initiatives that can improve that experience.
 
What do you actually do as an Accessibility Ambassador at Levant?
Being an Accessibility Ambassador at Levant means assisting with anything related to accessibility. It also means always encouraging staff and management to continue to strive to be aware of these issues. 
 
What difference does having an Ambassador at the site make?
Having a nominated person on-site and known presence really allows the topic of accessibility to become an open one. It also means there is someone to champion these issues and take the lead.
 
What are you planning to tackle next, as an Ambassador?
My goal is to make Levant as accessible as possible. There are a few things in the pipeline for visitors, which I am assisting with. These include embedding the use of the new BSL guided tour, hearing loop transmitters and receivers for guided tours.
 
What do you feel you bring to the table as a new ambassador?
I hope to bring a wealth of experience in the Visitor Attraction Industry,  as well as my 'can-do attitude'. I’m looking forward to it! 

Thank you Jak, keep up the good work!