picture of wheelchair user unable to get into meeting

Access Issues at Events

Easy access to a venue is essential for a successful community event. Unfortunately it is also extremely rare for the access to be easy for everyone who may wish to come. As an event organiser you can help to make sure that the best use is made even of a less than perfect venue. Our facilitator's guide to making meetings accessible discusses good facilitation practices that can help participants overcome barriers they may face as a result of disability.

It's important not to forget that access issues are not just about people with physical impairments: there are many other factors which you should consider as an event organiser. Some people have sensory impairments, experience mental distress (e.g. claustrophobia or anxiety) or have learning difficulties and their access needs must also be considered.

Just as some people experience barriers as a result of disability, they may experience other barriers you need to think about. These include such things as childcare or social, ethical and religious principles that participants may have."

Before your event

Gather accurate information about the venue and the event and list all access features clearly in all your publicity. For example your publicity might say:

If there is poor access to a building, or you haven't the resources to run a crèche, then say so. You don't need to apologise, but do make clear what options you can offer, eg: say that you can lift wheelchair users in, and describe the issue: "the only entrance has three steps up, with a handrail".

Where to get help

To find out about venues with disabled access, you could contact your local Disability Rights information centre - look in the Yellow Pages or Phone Book (under "Disability - Information and Services") or ask your local council or Citizen's Advice Bureau for contact information.

What to look for

Visit the venue before booking it, and check for accessibility. Here are some things to check:

Download PDF
Download PDF

This PDF is in booklet format - print both sides of the paper and fold over to make a booklet.