PEMBROKESHIRE County Council has a new access officer.

Jessica Hatchett, a former sub-editor with the Western Telegraph, took up the role earlier this month and has always been passionate about disability equality in Pembrokeshire.

Jessica, from Neyland, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and uses a wheelchair or a walking frame to get around.

She believes her experiences as a disabled person will give her a different perspective on the role which aims to build on the council’s commitment to making Pembrokeshire an accessible county to all.

A founder member of the Young Voices for Choices youth forum, Jessica has previously featured on the cover of two access guides, as well as the cover of a Bus Buddies project leaflet.

And Jessica is hoping to continue the good work of her predecessors, Trever Owens and Alan Hunt.

Jessica said: “This job is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to help make Pembrokeshire even better.

“Inclusive, accessible designs don’t just benefit disabled people – they make life easier for parents with buggies, people with broken legs or anyone who might not be steady on their feet.

“Simple design changes make a world of difference to someone with additional needs.”

The Access Officer role involves responding to requests, comments and concerns on accessibility issues; liaising with community access groups; ensuring the Authority’s duties and responsibilities with regard to the Equalities Act (2010) are met; supporting the work of Pembrokeshire Access Group and giving advice on all access design issues such as ramps, disabled parking bays, welfare facilities and much more.

Jessica added: “I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and giving them the best advice that I can – and if I don’t know the answer I will find someone who does.

“Also, whilst I am going to investigate good practice collaboratively with other Local Authorities, I am keen for Pembrokeshire to set the standard for access issues and introduce new and innovative ideas to improve people’s quality of life.

“I’m also looking forward to doing my first site visit. I know I have an important job to do and will take it seriously, but I can’t wait to see what I look like in a high-vis jacket and hard hat!”

To get in touch with Jessica, call 01437 775148 or email