05 Conduct a self-assessment of your cinema
There are a number of things you can do to make sure your events are as accessible as possible. Do a site visit if you’re working with other cinemas or venues too, and start thinking about access for every element of the event.
If your cinema and your communications are open and approachable to all, the chances are your audiences will develop because of the positive and inclusive messages being relayed.
Be aware that informing people about your accessible facilities and service will also entice them to visit you. In fact, it will be absolutely necessary for many disabled people to have these details in advance.
Ensure that this information is easily accessed on your website (consider having a dedicated access section), that all telephone operators and staff have details to hand and that it appears on publicity. Not all details will need to be included but ensure that enquirers can find it easily i.e. refer enquirers to a dedicated telephone number, email address or website link.
It is important to be honest about what accessible services, programmes, areas and communications you have available. If barriers exist, please identify what these might be and tell visitors how you can assist in other ways i.e. what areas of venues are not accessible via wheel chair etc. Do not increase expectation where you know it cannot be met.
What to consider during your self-assessment
How do people find out about your events? Do you know where to advertise to attract a diverse audience? How can they book tickets? Do you know how to respond to their access requirements? Are you providing any concessionary rates?
How can people get there? Can they get inside without assistance? Will they be able to move around easily? What facilities do you provide for disabled visitors? Have you provided access information for them on your website?
Is it clear – good contrast and large enough to see from a distance? Is it logical and consistent? Are there any obstructions? Will staff be available to help direct people if it‘s busy? Are the emergency exits easy to find?
Content / Delivery
Is the event inclusive or exclusive? Are there changes you can make to make it accessible to everybody? Do you have any assisted performances or activities scheduled?
The most important facility you’ll provide for visitors is a rest room. Are there accessible toilets at your venue? Are they regularly maintained? Are they kept locked? Are they used for other purposes? Have the alarm cords been tied up?
Breakout / Café Areas
Are your bars and café spaces accessible for disabled visitors also? Are your counters out of reach? Is there a waiter service available? Can you provide water for assistance dogs?
For many, this will be essential to visit your venue. Are there accessible parking bays nearby for patrons? Are they clearly signposted and free of obstructions? Are they close to level entrances? Do you need to book in advance and how?
Get to know the local transport links that will benefit your disabled visitors. Do you have contact numbers for accessible taxis? Are local train stations accessible? Is the venue clearly signposted from the bus stops or stations? Do you have alternative format maps and directions available?