How to Ensure Your Event is Inclusive and Accessible
Ensuring that your association or charity event is inclusive is more important than ever. As an organiser, you may be aware of your delegates needs, but some may not wish to share these needs with you, so ensuring that your event is fully inclusive and that your venue is ready to cater for unexpected needs is crucial. We have compiled a check list to help you to make sure that your event is accessible as possible.
1. Your choice of venue is paramount
Work with your venue to ensure that they are accessible. Check if your meeting and accommodation will be on one level, if they have accessible bedrooms, or easy to access lifts. If they have steps, do they also have ramps? On your site visit, be sure to trace the journey that your delegates will take into and around the venue to ensure that their needs are met.
2. How will your delegates arrive?
Is your venue easy to access from major roads, trainlines and airports? If you have delegates arriving by public transport, if would be good to inform delegates about accessible routes and also supply details of accessible local hire car companies to help delegates to the venue.
3. Is accessible parking readily available?
Free on-site and accessible parking is a huge benefit to any event and removes the delegate’s stress of having to find suitable Blue Badge parking nearby. Can your disabled delegate park easily, and can they get from the car park to the venue with ease if using a wheelchair, a walker or a stick?
4. Does the venue have enough seating and personal space?
Talk to your venue to make sure that the room is set up to accommodate the individual needs of your delegates – this may include taking seating away to create space for a wheelchair, seats reserved on the aisle or at the back for guests who may have to slip away for breaks, or providing a quiet room for breaks.
5. Communicate with your delegates
Ask all of your delegates how you can help them and what you can provide to make their experience a little easier. Do not assume anything, have an open and honest chat and don’t be afraid to ask questions as it shows that you are taking their needs seriously. It also is important that you tell your delegates in advance about anything that could cause issues or distress on the day such as strobe lighting, loud music and noise, and tell them about activities (such as a teambuilding exercise) that they may not be able to join in.
6. Ensure that your speakers are aware
Your speakers will want to ensure that their presentations are accessible to all; they may need to speak more clearer and always to the front, or avoid acronyms. Communication is key.
7. Dietary requirements
Ensure that you ask for your delegates for dietary requirements in advance, but also speak to your venue to ascertain how they would handle last minute requests and changes.
Creating an event that is accessible for all of your delegates may need a little more thought and consideration, but its essential to ensure it is truly inclusive. The golden rule is to communicate, listen and learn.
This is only a brief overview, for more information please head to https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/housing-and-disabled-people-engaging-with-disabled-people-event-planning-guide.pdf
Our friendly and knowledgeable team is on hand to help with your accessible needs – please do get in touch on: firstname.lastname@example.org