Making events accessible

Summary

Access is about giving people the equal opportunity to participate fully in whatever is being offered in the way that best suits them.

This web resource sets out best practice for organising accessible events. It is important to work to achieve best practice when organising meetings and events, but there might be times when factors such as resources, availability of suitable venues and lack of time can mean it is not possible. Whilst people who use services are all too aware of such issues and will understand that they are sometimes beyond the control of organisers, it is important to include finances and adequate lead-in times at the planning stage wherever possible.

This resource has been compiled from the comments left on a ‘wiki’ website by people who use services about their own experiences. The result is a web resource that includes suggestions from a diverse range of disabled people from a broad range of backgrounds.

A 'wiki' website is one where the content can easily be edited and altered by a person using their own web browser. SCIE, working with an advisory group for people who use services, created an access-wiki website for people who use services, which allowed people who use services and other stakeholders to design, contribute and update the content as they saw fit.

This web resource is split into three main sections:

The web resource also gives checklists for organisers to work through to ensure they are making their event as inclusive and accessible as they can. Good communication with everyone – participants, the venues and anyone else taking part – is essential to achieving this.

The web resource starts with an introductory section that explains how it came about and the approach that was taken to writing it. Instead of identifying different impairment groups, the resource concentrates on the different stages of organising and running an accessible event. This avoids repetition and the idea that everyone manages their impairment in the same way. As well as highlighting the importance of asking people what their access needs are, the resource looks at the importance of moving beyond the room that the event takes place in, and suggests a more holistic approach that considers the wider issues which will impact on the participants’ experience of inclusion, equality and parity.