With the Tall Ships event in Hartlepool coming up, I started to think about what makes a good event for someone with a disability. For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked having things to look forward to. Having things lined up in the calendar makes life more exciting. I love travelling, music festivals and going to events with my friends but doing these things requires a lot of forward thinking.
I’m sure that anyone within the disability community would agree that planning ahead is essential. Simple things like parking, easy access to toilets, viewing platforms etc are a bonus for non disabled people but for disabled people, it is the difference between being able to attend or not. It is virtually impossible to be spontaneous and turning up to events without first checking your needs will be met is a bad idea. Which is why it is important to have a ‘disabled access’ information page on the event’s website, with clear and concise information such as maps, seating, medication storage, use of strobe lighting and most importantly, contact details for further queries.
A festival in Glasgow I go to regularly has an ‘Accessibility’ page on their website, which has information on how to book accessible tickets and companion tickets, the accessible facilities they provide, and maps of the festival. Most train websites in the UK have accessible sections, as do hotels. Failing that, I contact them over the phone. All of this ensures that I can book my trip in advance with plenty of time to make any necessary arrangements leading up to it. I have booked to go to a local festival this summer, all I had to do was email them explaining my access needs and they responded by ringing me to talk through everything and answer any questions I had. This has left me feeling confident about my trip, I know the festival is well thought out, with disability accommodations being a priority.
It’s not just the actual event that needs to be sorted in advance, but accommodation and travel too. Accessible hotel rooms don’t come easy and jumping on the subway/ a bus when you get to whichever city you’re going to is usually not an option in a wheelchair. Luckily, I take a lot of trains so I know exactly how to book accessible train journeys and majority of the time I feel confident enough to go alone. The festival in Glasgow even provide a list of hotels on their website, within walking distance of the festival, which is really useful information to have. Most of the accommodations disabled people need are vital for them enjoying these events but one of the most significant things to me is people’s attitudes. How people treat you and the staff’s willingness to help can make all the difference.
Author ~ Georgia Hart
Hi! I’m 26 years old and beyond excited about joining the team at CLIP. When I was fifteen years old, I was diagnosed with a rare life threatening condition which completely flipped my world upside down. Since then, I’ve learnt how to adapt and navigate life with a chronic illness whilst also developing a keen interest in helping other people in similar situations. Making things more inclusive and accessible is really important to me, which is why CLIP means so much.