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Participation and co-production best practice

Guidance about accessibility and your venue

Think about the journey through your site for children and young people with special educational Needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families.

From the moment that they consider visiting (website information) to arriving at your venue to visit and then their departure. We would like every child and young person with SEND and their families to find the experience positive and as easy as possible to enjoy.

It is important that information about the accessibility of your venue is accurate. Keep any changes up to date on your website so that children and young people with SEND and their families can plan their visit.  

It's recommended that the information on your website is reviewed at least every year.

Considerations you should take for an accessible venue:  

Information on your website

Does your website give enough information about the experience visitors will have when at your venue? 

Consider including information about:

  • Arriving at the venue - parking arrangements  
  • Accessible parking - location clearly marked on a map and visible on arrival 
  • Distance to the venue from car park. From the accessible parking bays it is recommended to be no more than 50m.
  • The number of accessible parking bays. Best practice recommends 6% of total parking spaces should be accessible.
  • Any limitations to the accessible parking 
  • Car park surface material 
  • Cost of parking 

Include sensory information such as:

  • Colour schemes 
  • Type of lighting  
  • Where music will be played (or not) 
  • Quiet times and quiet spaces  
  • Safe spaces - refuge points, dedicated meeting points 
  • Days or times that are Autism friendly 

Examples of accessibility information provided on venue websites: 


Access and movement in and around your venue 

How do visitors access your venue?

Access considerations for your venue and what information to make available to people visiting:

  • Step free portable/temporary ramp. If providing a temporary ramp, add the type and measurements of the ramp so visitors can determine whether it will meet their needs. It is useful to include pictures of the ramp access to show if it goes directly to the entrance or if there is a level surface from the ramp to the entrance/doorways.  
  • Electric door/assisted door facilities  
  • Dimensions of lifts (length and width) 
  • Dimensions of doorway openings - single or double door opening and how they open  
  • Flooring and surfaces used both inside and outside of the venue 
  • Inaccessible areas clearly marked  
  • Is the venue easy to get out of? Consider spaces that are more/less secure, this is important for parents/carers and families to know about for children and young people who might run out of a venue  
  • In the event of the lift breaking down, is there a member of staff designated to attend to this? 
  • Signage that is clear and offered in multiple ways including braille, induction loops 
  • Is there enough space to manoeuvre comfortably with a mobility aide? 
  • Does the venue allow access to trained and registered guide and assistance dogs?  


Toilet facilities and personal care 

What considerations and information to make available for visitors about toilet facilities and personal care in your venue:  

  • Is there a Changing Places facility? 
  • How do you gain access to the accessible toilets? For example, do you need a key? 
  • Dimensions and layouts of accessible toilet facilities, specify whether it is left, right or both wheelchair to toilet transfer.
  • Include the equipment available (rails, hoists, changing beds, off floor shelf)  
  • Are the sinks and mirrors accessible at a lower level?
  • The number of accessible toilets 
  • Is there an alarm cord and what happens if the cord if pulled? 
  • Toilet and changing facilities are free from clutter and are not used for storage 
  • Photos or videos of the toilet facilities 


Fire and emergency events

What information to consider for fire and emergency events in your venue:

  • Evacuation chair available, type of Evac chair and number available at the venue  
  • Member of staff trained to use the Evac chair 
  • Accessibility of the routes to assembly points from all fire exits 
  • Visual alert for deaf people when the fire alarm goes off 
  • Fire alarm tests times and days/dates are advertised  
  • Emergency process for visitors 
  • The venue has undertaken an individual General Emergency Evacuation Plan (GEEP) with disabled groups/visitors 


Staff training and responsibilities

What information to consider for your staff training and their responsibilities at your venue:

  • Do you provide accessibility training for your staff? 
  • Have staff had training about hidden disabilities? 
  • Are any staff British Sign Language (BSL) trained?
  • Do you have trained people to assist in the event of an emergency? 
  • Do you have a nominated disability champion and a deputy?  
  • Do you have a nominated mental health champion?  
  • Do you provide details about how to contact the disability champion/deputy champion?  
  • Is there an identified member of staff to contact if a concern is raised?


Accessible equipment and considerations

What information you could consider providing for visitors about the accessible equipment in your venue:

  • Specialised equipment available, for example: a hoist, a pool pod
  • Areas with adapted furniture, for example tables where wheelchairs can fit underneath
  • Adapted equipment, for example accessible computers, adapted art equipment, adapted sport or gym equipment


Other information to provide as appropriate 

Any other information you could provide for visitors to your venue:

  • Risk assessments are available on request
  • Is there equal access for everyone to join in?  
  • Has your business signed up to a FLOURISH pledge?  
  • Is information about inclusive activities advertised? Is it accessible to all?   
  • Is there priority pass for your venue?  
  • Do you have 'good food talks' app for your menus?  
  • Do you allow people to do a familiarisation visit for free before a trip?
  • Do carers enter free? Or is a carers ticket discounted? Do you need proof?  
  • Does the venue take card/cash?  
  • Does everyone have the same access to the venue, or are there times when it's closed to certain groups?
  • Can you pre-book activities?


Other helpful considerations

Any other helpful considerations to assist visitors to your venue:

  • Use photographs and videos to show the venue. Especially access routes, accessible toilets and specialist equipment.
  • Review your accessibility information regularly. Check it at least once a year, especially if there are changes to the building or how things work. Think about how things might be different during events, like having a Christmas tree and lights or playing music.
  • Seek feedback from visitors. Use it to understand their experience and think about how you could improve it.
  • The distance to the nearest Changing Place and link to the website 
  • Is there a social story available about your venue?


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