Choosing a venue for your event is likely to be one of the first things you do. In terms of access, you should only consider venues that allow people to enter, exit and move around with ease and that have other accessible facilities, such as accessible toilets.
This is a list of key access features you may want to look for when choosing a venue:
- accessible parking bay(s) located on flat ground and a well-lit route to the event which is clear of obstruction
- regular resting spots along entrance and exit paths
- footpaths and ramps with non-slip surfaces, wide enough to accommodate people using mobility aids
- clear external signage to the event which includes visual symbols
- a main entrance that is on the accessible route or a clearly signposted alternative
- accessible facilities such as toilets, public telephones and food and drink counters, marked with clear visual signage
- accessible toilets that can be used by people with a disability and their carers, who may be of the same or different gender
- special viewing areas for people with a disability (particularly relevant for events where there is no spectator seating, such as parades or music festivals). There should be adequate space for a wheelchair user to enter and move freely around this designated area, as well as a route to travel to and from it to other event facilities
- a ramp or lift to all levels in the venue, including VIP areas
- large doorways with colour contrasting door frames / trims
- lifts with audible information and buttons with a raised tactile surface and Braille markings
- captioning or hearing loop technology
- adequate lighting
- battery recharge station facilities for electric wheelchair uses
- quiet spaces
- drinking water and shade for guide dogs for outdoor events.
A venue should also have evacuation procedures that take account of people with a disability. Such procedures should include:
- ensuring that all parts of the accessible route to and within the venue are clear of obstruction and well-lit. It can be the case that accessible routes are blocked by refuse or equipment
- both visual and audio fire alarms
- clearly marked accessible emergency exits
- a mobility map of the facility showing accessible paths, entrances and other features, made available both during and before the event.
You will also need to consider how people with a disability will travel to and from your event. If people are likely to travel by car, it is important to provide easily accessible parking spaces close to the event or a drop-off zone. Alternatively, if you are promoting public transport, you should consider coordinating accessible services with public transport authorities and provide information on accessible routes from railway stations or bus stops to the event. A useful resource is the Transport Infoline Trip Planner which provides information on the best travel options for people with access requirements.