The case for
an accessible
programme

The case for
an accessible
programme

The case for
an accessible
programme

Introduction

Croydon is home to an incredibly diverse population, including a rich community of deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people. The Access Advisory Group is led by people with access needs, following an ethos 
of ‘nothing about us without us’.

A cultural program which reflects Croydon authentically will be accessible to these communities, and this accessibility will drive the quality and innovation of our program in turn, not only for disabled people, but for everybody.

For This is Croydon to be a success, we need to involve every single community, 
in every single permeation. This will make our program stand out.

Access for disabled people is especially critical and urgent since Covid-19 has further isolated us from our communities.

We want to be ambitious, and raise the bar for what being ‘London Borough of Culture’ means to disabled artists, participants and audiences, tackling systemic ableism and access barriers head on.

This manifesto wishes to move the collective thinking beyond pointing out the boringly obvious – that access to arts in public spaces is a legal right (which of course, it is!), and instead aims to elevate and champion the ambition and creative quality which will be unleashed in Croydon when everybody is invited to take part.

The legacy of delivering this manifesto will be that Croydon becomes a more radically inclusive borough, loudly celebrating accessibility from DIY & grass roots levels, through to our cultural programs, and right up to structural and systematic change-making. Through collective action, mutual aid, collaboration and opportunities to learn together and skill up, we will take the practical steps needed for this change to be truly embedded.

This radically inclusive culture, modelled proudly throughout our cultural program, will lead to a more fair and just Croydon.

In 2023 and beyond, we envision a community that is transformed, empowered, upskilled and passionate in delivering accessibility at every scale.

HOW THIS MANIFESTO WILL WORK:

CHANGE DOES NOT HAPPEN UNLESS 
WE BRAVELY EMBRACE IT. AND CHANGE
DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT

We aim to be ambitious, and realistic in equal measure.

We ask that all organisers involved with This is Croydon, The Mayor of London’s London Borough of Culture, engage with accessibility from wherever their starting point and scale is.

We believe that using this framework, every contributor to This is Croydon can take impactful steps in improving and driving access for their events, buildings and projects.

We are asking you to read this manifesto and to be realistic about where your starting point is. Then, we are asking you to make ambitious commitments to improve from this point.

We have created 3 ‘tiers’ of accessibility. It is up to you to decide which tier is realistic and ambitious for your organisation.

The Access Advisory Group will support organisations to achieve their ambitions through voluntary and funded initiatives including:

  • A digital hub of shared resources from disabled – led organisations filled with best practice, guidelines, templates, checklists and other resources that is freely available to all event organisers for This is Croydon to upskill and inform their team/ events.
  • A Croydon Access Library – A centralised ‘library’ of loanable/ shareable, physical/ digital resources for events organisers to gain access to accessibility equipment when it is not in use, including: break-out room kits, ear defenders, tech equipment, captioning software, sensory aids, and other items, so that we can limit the expense of individual organisations purchasing this equipment.
  • Training and workshops – We will host an ‘Access Weekender’ training event, offering free access training to artists and organisations in Croydon at the start of Borough of Culture.

We will also identify a database of local experienced trainers who can deliver paid/ subsidised access training tailored to your team, including:

  • Disability Awareness Training
  • Neurodiversity Awareness Training
  • Dementia Friendly Venue Training
  • Trauma-informed practice
  • Deaf Awareness Training
  • Beginner BSL courses
  • Audio Description, VI Guiding and Touch Tour workshops
  • Makaton training/ creating and using Visual Aids (Easy Read documents)

A centralised database of local Croydon (and London-based) access workers including:

  • BSL interpreters
  • Audio describers
  • BSL trained Front of House staff/ volunteers
  • Access workers to support disabled/ neurodiverse artists/ participants
  • Scribes/ Captioners
  • Access and Disability Consultants

WHAT TIER ARE YOU?

  • Bronze

    Scale of organisation:

    • Grass roots artists/ events organisers with limited access to access funding.
    • Volunteer led orgs.
    • Individuals.

    Previous experience in terms of access (prior to Borough of Culture)

    • No/ very little experience of providing access for artists/ audiences in the past. Or never organised a public event before.

    Rough scale of the event/s you are planning for Borough of Culture

    • Your event(s) will reach up to 250 people in total.
    • Your event takes place in a small space such as a church, a library, a hired hall, a cafe or similar.
    • Your event will take place on one date, or a very limited run of dates.
    • Your event costs might be under £3000 to run.
    • An individual or small/ volunteer led team is organising the event.
  • Silver

    Scale of organisation:

    • Mid/ large scale organisations with access to frequent project funding, grant funding and core funding.

    Previous experience in terms of access (prior to Borough of Culture)

    • Experience of providing access for artists/ audiences in the past.
    • Your event(s) will reach 1000+ people in total.

    Rough scale of the event/s you are planning for Borough of Culture

    • Your event takes place in a large outdoor space or in a mid or large-scale venue, such as a main stage in a Borough of Culture Hub (EG Fairfield Halls Ashcroft, Stanley Arts Main Hall).
    • Your event will either be a large-scale one-off event reaching large audiences (500+), or will have multiple occurrences, such as a 1 week run or a month-long exhibition, with an expectation of reaching 500+ people across the run.
    • Your event costs might be over £25000 to run.
    • Core staff/ a paid team of professionals are organising your event.
  • Gold

    Scale of organisation:

    • Mid/ large scale organisations with access to frequent project funding, grant funding and core funding.

    Previous experience in terms of access (prior to Borough of Culture)

    • Experience of providing access for artists/ audiences in the past.

    Rough scale of the event/s you are planning for Borough of Culture

    • Your event(s) will reach 1000+ people in total.
    • Your event takes place in a large outdoor space or in a mid or large-scale venue, such as a main stage in a Borough of Culture Hub (EG Fairfield Halls Ashcroft, Stanley Arts Main Hall).
    • Your event will either be a large-scale one-off event reaching large audiences (500+), or will have multiple occurrences, such as a 1 week run or a month-long exhibition, with an expectation of reaching 500+ people across the run.
    • Your event costs might be over £25000 to run.
    • Core staff/ a paid team of professionals are organising your event.

WHAT access provisions you should be providing

IF YOU’RE BRONZE, 

YOU SHOULD BE PROVIDING...

  • Event Space

    • Where possible, your event will take place in a venue with level access for wheelchair users.
    • If there is not a wheelchair accessible toilet, find out where the nearest one is and offer clear signage/ FOH guidance.
    • You will endeavour to ensure wheelchair users can experience your event with equity and parity alongside non-disabled audiences/ participants. EG – Wheelchair allocated seats will not be right at the back/ have a restricted view. Wheelchair users should be able to sit with their carer/ companion.
    • You will ensure there is (or create) clear signage to your event and other spaces (toilets/ fire exits etc).
  • Ticketing

    • Offer free carer tickets to disabled people.
    • Offer concession rates for people with disabilities (we recommend working on a trust basis, rather than asking patrons to provide ‘proof’ of disability).
    • If yours is a paid event, consider allocating affordable tickets (£5 – £10) to reduce financial barriers.
  • Marketing

    • All basic accessibility information about your event must be clearly displayed on all flyers and online listings.
    • Ensure additional accessibility information is available in an easy to find place on your website.
    • Be clear about whether or not your venue is wheelchair accessible, even if it isn’t.
  • Deaf access

    • You will ensure one iteration of your event is accessible to deaf audiences, either through captioning or BSL interpretation.
    • You will use free captioning software to ensure all marketing content is captioned on social media.
    • You will use the free resources on the Access Arts Croydon website to inform you on best practice for welcoming deaf audiences/ visitors into your event, and share these with your team/ FOH/ volunteers.
    Deaf and hearing loss access
  • Neurodivergent/ learning disabled access

    • You will offer a breakout area for use during your event, or offer use of an outdoor/ cafe/ bar area if this is not possible.
    • You can loan sensory aids and breakout room equipment from the Access Library.
    • If applicable to your event, at least one iteration of your event will be a ‘Relaxed’ event, welcoming neurodiverse/ disabled people to feel safe and at ease responding to the event with their natural behaviours.
    • You will use the free resources on the Access Arts Croydon website to share information with your team on delivering a Relaxed event; you can use Zoo Co’s Relaxed Event checklist, Relaxed Performance announcement and guidelines as a starting point.
    Neurodiversity access
  • Vision Impaired Access

    • You will ensure all social media image-based content includes Alt-text, using Twitter (X)/ Instagram/ Facebook inbuilt and free alt-text functions, to ensure readability for screen-readers.
    • You will consider having at least one front facing person trained in Visual Awareness/audio description.
    • If delivering a visual arts event you will consider offering audio description delivered by a member of your organisation via a live described event.
    • If delivering a theatrical/musical/performing arts event you will consider providing 1 audio described performance including a touch tour and pre-show audio notes.
    • You will offer to meet any Blind/VI person at a local train/tram/bus stop and assist to your venue and support when there.
    Visual Impairment Access
  • Digital Access

    • You will research the possibility of offering a digital/ live-streamed version of your event.

IF YOU’RE silver, 

YOU SHOULD BE PROVIDING...

  • Event Space

    • Your event takes place in a wheelchair accessible venue.
    • If there is not a wheelchair accessible toilet, find out where the nearest one is and offer clear signage/ FOH guidance.
    • You will endeavour to ensure wheelchair users can experience your event with equity and parity alongside non-disabled audiences/ participants. EG – Wheelchair allocated seats will not be right at the back/ have a restricted view. Wheelchair users should be able to sit with their carer/ companion.
    • Your space will have a breakout area/ quieter chillout space available during your event. (You can use the Access Library to hire/ borrow DIY breakout space equipment).
    • You will ensure there is (or create) clear signage to your event and other spaces (toilets/ fire exits etc).
  • Ticketing

    • Offer free carer tickets to disabled people.
    • Offer concession rates for people with disabilities (we recommend working on a trust basis, rather than asking patrons to provide ‘proof’ of disability).
    • If yours is a paid event, consider allocating some affordable tickets (£5 – £10) to reduce financial barriers.
  • Marketing

    • All basic accessibility information about your event must be clearly displayed on all flyers and online listings.
    • Ensure all additional accessibility information is available in an easy to find place on your website.
  • Deaf access

    • You will ensure at least one iteration of your event is accessible to deaf audiences, either through captioning or BSL interpretation.
    • You will ensure all digital marketing content is captioned on social media/ online.
    • You will commit to offering a Deaf Awareness Training session to your team before the delivery of your event.
    Deaf and hearing loss access
  • Neurodivergent/ learning disabled access

    • You will create a breakout area for use during your event. Where possible, this will not be a mixed-use area.
    • You can loan sensory aids and breakout room equipment from the Access Library.
    • The designated breakout space will be signposted clearly in your venue.
    • If applicable to your event, at least one iteration of your event will be a ‘Relaxed’ event, welcoming neurodiverse/ disabled people to feel safe and at ease responding to the event with their natural behaviours.
    • You may consider whether it is possible for all events to take place in a Relaxed setting.
    • You will use the free resources on the Access Arts Croydon website to share information with your team on delivering a Relaxed event; you can use Zoo Co’s Relaxed Event checklist, Relaxed Performance announcement and guidelines as a starting point.
    • You may consider training your team/ FOH team in Disability Awareness prior to your event for lasting impact.
    Neurodiversity access
  • Vision Impaired Access

    • You will ensure all social media image-based content includes Alt-text, using Twitter (X)/ Instagram/ Facebook inbuilt and free alt-text functions, to ensure readability for screen-readers.
    • You will consider having at least one front facing person trained in Visual Awareness/audio description.
    • If delivering a visual arts event you will consider offering audio description delivered by a member of your organisation via a live described event.
    •  If delivering a theatrical/musical/performing arts event you will consider providing 1 audio described performance including a touch tour and pre-show audio notes.
    • You will offer to meet any Blind/VI person at a local train/tram/bus stop and assist to your venue and support when there.
    Visual Impairment Access
  • Digital Access

    • You will consider offering a digitised/ live-streamed version of your event as part of your planning.

IF YOU’RE gold, 

YOU SHOULD BE PROVIDING...

  • Event Space

    • Your event takes place in a wheelchair accessible venue with access to wheelchair accessible toilets.
    • If there is not access to a Changing Place, you will endeavour to create a DIY Changing Place for your event.
    • You will endeavour to ensure wheelchair users can experience your event with equity and parity alongside non-disabled audiences/ participants. EG – Wheelchair allocated seats will not be right at the back/ have a restricted view. Wheelchair users should be able to sit with their carer/ companion.
    • You will ensure there is (or create) clear signage to your event and other spaces (toilets/ fire exits etc).
  • Ticketing

    • Offer free carer tickets to disabled people.
    • Offer concession rates for people with disabilities (we recommend working on a trust basis, rather than asking patrons to provide ‘proof’ of disability).
    • If yours is a paid event, consider allocating some affordable tickets (£5 – £10) to reduce financial barriers.
    • Ensure options for disabled patrons to purchase tickets using cash, to reduce financial barriers.
    • Provide multiple methods of communications (EG email address and a phone number) to cater for different ticket enquiry and purchasing needs. Ensure tickets can be bought directly online (rather than only via a phone number which may be inaccessible to deaf patrons).
  • Marketing

    • All basic accessibility information about your event clearly displayed on all flyers and online listings.
    • Ensure all additional accessibility information is available in an easy to find place on your website.
  • Deaf access

    • You will scope the feasibility of more than one or all events being made accessible to deaf audiences through BSL interpretation and/ or captioning (as these suit different audiences differently).
    • You will ensure all marketing content is captioned on social media/ online.
    • You will consider creating BSL versions of your marketing to enhance deaf access.
    • You will commit to offering a Deaf Awareness Training session to your team before the delivery of your event.
    • You may consider putting 1 or more public facing members of your team through BSL Level 1 training, for lasting legacy and greater impact.
    Deaf and hearing loss access
  • Neurodivergent/ learning disabled access

    • You will create a separate breakout area/ chillout space for use during your event.
    • You can loan sensory aids and breakout room equipment from the Access Library.
    • The designated breakout space will be signposted clearly in your venue.
    • If applicable to your event, at least one iteration of your event will be a ‘Relaxed’ event, welcoming neurodiverse/ disabled people to feel safe and at ease responding to the event with their natural behaviours.
    • You will use the free resources on the Access Arts Croydon website to share information with your team on delivering a Relaxed event; you can use Zoo Co’s Relaxed Event checklist, Relaxed Performance announcement and guidelines as a starting point.
    • You may consider whether it is possible for all events to take place in a Relaxed setting.
    • You will organise at least one session of training for your team/ FOH team in Disability Awareness prior to your event.
    Neurodiversity access
  • Vision Impaired Access

    • You will ensure all social media image-based content includes Alt-text, using Twitter (X)/ Instagram/ Facebook inbuilt and free alt-text functions, to ensure readability for screen-readers.
    • You will train all your customer facing staff in Visual Impairment awareness.
    • You will audio describe at least 2 performances in a run of theatrical/musical/performing arts which should include Touch Tours.
    • For visual arts exhibitions, you will offer 2 or more organised events for Blind/VI visitors and bespoke visits for individuals. These should include handling objects. The same should apply to museum based events.
    • You will offer programmes in accessible downloadable versions.
    • You will offer to support Blind/VI visitors who attend by themselves including meeting them at a local train/tram/bus stop, if they inform you at the time of booking tickets, if the event is ticketed, or in advance by email/telephone if not.
    Visual Impairment Access
  • Digital Access

    • You will offer a digitised/ live-streamed version of your event as part of your planning.

download the manifesto

If you'd like a PDF version of the Access Manifesto please
download it below:

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