Top Tips for Accessible Workshops

This isn’t an exhaustive list and we are always learning ourselves so comments are welcome! This list is likely to be old news to lots of organisations but if you are starting off with a new workshop here are some tips for beginners:

 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask! Don’t assume what people might prefer to do in terms of access arrangements and facilities – provide as much information as possible, including photographs and weblinks, so that people can make their own choices

 

  • Visit every location to check accessibility before confirming a session or visit – websites, staff and individuals all have different ideas of what ‘accessible’ means, for example sometimes ‘accessible WCs’ or ‘Changing Places’ facilities can be too small or inconvenient to get to

 

  • Make use of accessible guides online but don’t depend on them – still make plans to visit places and check transport links. A couple of good starting points are: Inclusive London, Visit England

 

  • Book accessible accomodation and transport first! These are often in limited supply and can fill up quickly. When booking accessible transport (eg. accessible minibus with a platform lift), make sure you match coach/minibus capacity to numbers of participants and organisers

 

  • Attention to detail – heavy doors and cramped rooms are not the best things to greet you in a hotel – keep looking before booking accommodation!

 

  • Plenty of comfort breaks, and access to accessible WC facilities – will prove essential to factor these in day-to-day activities. It might worth having bottles of water and/or including refreshment opportunities

 

  • Rest opportunities, provide regular chances to just sit and break away from large groups if needed. Check for quiet spaces and/or seating areas at venues you are using for the workshop

 

  • Large print maps– tube, street bus, trains- are so useful to everyone

 

  • Clear print information. Aim for 14pt or even 16pt, but do not print smaller than 12pt. Prefer friendly to the eye colors and keep good color contrast (eg. black on white, red on black)

 

  • Language – use plain English and Easy Read formats of necessary (print and online) information. The simpler the language, the more confident participants will feel and the safer the learning environment will be. On occasions, you might decide to tr

 

  • Have a plan B, if you have an outdoor event make sure you can adjust your plan in case of rain – include any transport arrangements necessary to the back-up plan

 

  • List of useful contact numbers and addresses including postcodes for impromptu taxi bookings and changing reservations. You might consider giving this out to participants as well!

 

  • Restaurants – check it is easy to enter, access the tables and use the facilities. Large print menus can be requested

 

  • Enough time to get from A to B. Timings will always go out of the window, best to build in extra time!

 

  • Accessible minibuses. Check out your local community transport providers – accessible transport at great prices

 

  • Parking space: find out beforehand where you can drop off / pick up safely close to the venue before your journey. Essential for any location, particularly for Central London!

 

  • Research your venues: some can offer great facilities like priority access, wheelchairs, portable stools and audio guides to hire, free tactile/ sensory activities

 

  • Know your participants! After selection, and before you welcome them onsite, get to know them and encourage them to know about each other! This will help you (the organiser) customise all activities and sessions, while participants will definitely warm-up and bond very quickly!

 

  • Look after and empower, don’t patronise! Keep a good balance between catering for your participants at all levels and empowering them to make their own choices. It’s good to allow a morning or afternoon for their own plans, if they wish to, but also give recommendations.

 

 

 

 

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