Attending performances and functions is set to become a gala experience for Cowra residents and visitors with a major upgrade to the town’s Civic Centre, thanks to the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund.

The upgrade includes installation of a Hearing Aid Loop, automatic entrance and toilet doors, fitting of retractable raked seating in the upstairs 88-seat theatrette and recarpeting throughout.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the $337,038 grant will make the venue a more welcoming, inclusive and accessible public building.

“Arts Tourism is a key part of the NSW Government’s strategic plan, with many of our regional events designed to draw visitors, so it’s essential that the venue is able to support everyone,” Ms Cooke said.

“This will enable people with hearing impairments to use existing hearing aids to participate fully in events including stage productions, cinema screenings, conferences and civic events.”

“The fitting of automatic doors on entrances and toilets will improve access for all users, regardless of age or level of ability, and the recarpeting will remove some significant trip hazards for facility users.”

Jonathan Llewellyn, Manager at the Cowra Civic Centre said this funding to improve accessibility for all was integral to increasing the dignity, respect and independence of patrons who might have had difficulties in accessing the venue in the past.

“Along with the improvements to access and reduction in hazards, making a shift to more comfortable seating will make a difference to those patrons who find the current seating challenging, which in turn will make every experience in the theatrette more enjoyable,” Mr Llewellyn said.

“In particular by providing a hearing-loop for those patrons with hearing impairments it means we are able to overcome a hurdle for those who can find the noise from crowds overwhelming and be more inclusive to all visitors.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the Regional Tourism Activation Fund is helping establish unique tourism experiences that attract visitors and showcase what our regions have to offer.

“Projects backed through the Regional Tourism Activation Fund will give domestic and international visitors more great reasons to holiday away from the city,” Mr Toole said.

Under Stream One, grants of between $200,000 and $5 million were made available for projects delivering unique and high impact visitor experiences. Stream Two provided grants of between $50,000 to $500,000 for projects aimed at improving the accessibility and inclusion of tourism experiences for people with disability.

The $30 million Regional Tourism Activation Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $2 billion Regional Growth Fund. For more information, go to:

www.nsw.gov.au/RTAFund.