Many members with accessibility needs have been contacting me regarding some of the barriers they wished to be removed so they can participate fully as they are entitled. They are predominately issues I can and am raising through the CAC. However, one area not covered by the Party is fringe events not held by the party.
The FRINGE Campaigning, asking organisations holding fringe events at National Labour Party Conference to voluntarily sign up to 12 steps that would improve inclusivity.
The 12 steps are:
- Ensuring disabled access at venues (lifts/no steps)
- Queue checking – someone checking queues and letting those with mobility issues come to the front and be seated as soon as possible (even before the event starts - i.e. if you're setting up).
- Reserved seating closer to entrances and exits for people with access issues
- Being mindful of use of presentations for visually impaired (size of writing, colour clashes with texts and backgrounds).
- Being clear on publicity if there are any barriers.
- Giving exact address with full postcode (for those who use electronic maps and/or cabs).
- Details of parking and/or transport
- Clear signs to the entrance of your event (especially if you're in a building used by others like a bar or the space is not obvious i.e. it's around the back)
- Mics used for verbal presentations
- Hearing loops (you can hire these quite cheaply)
- Space for mobility scooter and/or assistance dogs (if needed)
- Phone number of an organiser if there are any questions
Holding a Fringe Event? Please click here to sign up
These are improvements rather than fully ensuring all access issues are met, there are still things that can be done (i.e. large print handouts, subtitles to videos etc.) but if fringe event organisers can make the above, low/no cost changes - it could make a lot of difference and its a start.
Organisations that have signed up:
- Trade Union Coordinating Group - TUCG: Message from Michael Calderbank, TUCG: "Thank you so much for devising this 12 point pledge. We found it very helpful in organising our fringe event - we have made the necessary changes and can confirm our Labour Party Conference Fringe event will meet all 12 points".
- Labour First: Message from Matt Pound, Labour First: "We are happy to sign up to this pledge, however regretfully, due to the need for a venue close to the conference centre and a late change to our usual meeting time, this year we have not been able to secure a venue with wheelchair access. Our event will take place on the first floor of the Liverpool Pub. We are wholly committed to fully meeting this voluntary disability code of conduct at future conferences and will complying with all other points [except point 1] this year".
- The World Transformed: Message from Deborah Hermanns, The World Transformed: "We are happy to sign this pledge but unfortunately we have already got posters and flyers printed and so I cant promise that all our promotional materials will be complying with all of the points. But everything else on list we can make sure we definitely do and are happy to sign up and encourage other organisations at TWT to do so too"
- Progress: Message from Katie Curtis, Progress: "This is a great initiative and we’re more than happy to sign-up to the code. The information will be on our website and on leaflets so we’ll make sure to check against this list when producing them".
- CLPD: Message from Pete Willsman, CLPD: "Thank you very much for putting this helpful 12 step guide together. The CLPD are very happy to sign up and we will be making these adaptions to ensure we remove barriers for disabled members attending our fringe events".