Making events accessible
The event: Refreshments and food
Food and refreshments can make or break an event, and people who use services made many comments about this. As with many issues of access, choice is the key factor. It is important to give people choice:
- in the food they eat/drink
- of implements they use to eat/drink
- when they can eat/drink, where possible (some people may need to drink/eat outside of scheduled breaks).
You should ask people about any particular dietary requirements on the booking form for any event where food and refreshments are served.
At the event, allow people to make choices by making sure:
- food is clearly labelled
- assistance is available
- seating with optional tables is available.
This is what people said:
I need to eat regularly, so have snacks available in breaks. Not always sweet ones!
Offer choices of cutlery and crockery. I find a mug easier than a cup and saucer.
It helps me if people put out drinking straws.
Have people available to help with carrying food and drinks – it’s difficult for most wheelchair users and people with mobility problems.
Keep meat and fish away from vegetarian and vegan food.
Avoid pork, beef and shellfish. This covers a lot of dietary needs. Be aware of allergies and those who are gluten free, dairy free and have nut allergies also.
Always have water available as some medication makes people very thirsty.