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A short guide to making your events more accessible - by Students with Disabilities Network

Students at UCL, whether they define as disabled or not, will have needs which you will have to meet to ensure they can take part in your activities. When planning and delivering events it is important that you take some time to consider the needs of those who may wish to participate in order not to unintentionally exclude anyone. It is important to stress that as an event planner you are not expected to be an expert on all disabilities, but we do expect that you will take the time to find out if people do have any access needs, and do your best to meet them.

Legally under the Equality Act 2010 any organisation is required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people so as not to discriminate against them. The most important part about getting this right is the conversation with the person who knows what their needs are and how best they can be met. In order to make this easier for everyone we have updated the details required to advertise an event on the What’s On calendar. You will now be asked to note if your event is family friendly, wheelchair accessible and provide contact information for the person leading the event.

What do we mean by family friendly?

UCL has a number of people with caring responsibilities who are not always able to participate in university life due to their caring commitments. Is your event being held in a place where children can go and would want to be? There is an opportunity for you to add detailed information (i.e. suitable for older children, not infants) and we would encourage you to do so. Remember that most of our liscenced venues do not allow under 18’s in if the bar is open. You can find out more about child friendly spaces here.

What do we mean by wheelchair accessible?

Is the venue you have booked able to be accessed by a wheelchair user? You will need to consider whether there is a route into and around the venue that is step-free, including lifts or ramps if necessary, and whether there is an accessible toilet nearby.

Many spaces at UCL unfortunately are not accessible and the information on the room bookings website is not always accurate. We are working with UCL to improve this. This does not mean you should not ever use those rooms. However, if your event is open to all students and you do not know who is attending you may have to change the venue in order to not exclude someone. Take a look at Mully’s Access Information here

Event registrations/RSVP

So that you know if anyone disabled is attending your event, we would advise that you ask attendees to register/RSVP and include a question asking if attendees have any access needs. You could also collect this information from members at the beginning of the year.

What access needs might people ask me about?

There are many different types of disability and many more access needs that people have. Some requests may be simple, such as a person requiring anything printed to be in a certain size or on a particular colour paper, or they may be more complex such as needing to book a sign language interpreter.

Where can I get support from to meet people’s needs?

It is wise to ask the person how they usually source any specific support they are asking for before turning to others for help.

You can also contact:

Inside UCL

Student Disability Services

Student Psychological Services

Student Support and Wellbeing

Outside UCL

NUS Disabled Students’ Campaign

English Federation of Disability Sport they have some useful resources

Transport For All

Mencap for learning disabilities – they have an advice line which will provide information and resources.