Information for event organisers to consider when planning an event.

Early planning of your event

If you have choice of venue, consider accessibility as part of the decision making process for where to hold the event.  

Many access issues can be overcome, but some venues are easier than others to make accessible.

Deciding on a venue for your event

  • Review potential venues early so you have time to put in place what is needed.
  • Take a detailed walk-through of the venue from the perspective of all the relevant groups. E.g. participants, competitors, performers, artists, spectators, supporters, crew, volunteers, etc.
  • Plan your signage to make finding your way around the event easy.
  • Seek expert advice. E.g. a wheelchair user will be able to explain any potential issues with a site. 
  • Document the accessibility of each venue.

Funding

  • Check accessibility requirements set by your funders or sponsors. E.g. The Christchurch City Council may have requirements which they will discuss with you.
  • Check accessibility costs. E.g. accessible Portaloo, ramps and/or sign language interpreters. 
  • Check for funding available for accessibility from your funders or others.
  • Plan how you show your funders that your event has been accessible. 

Costs to event attendees

  • Consider the costs that will be incurred by event attendees as part of deciding on a venue.  Cost can be an access barrier for many.
  • Ensure the costs of this venue are going to result in an affordable event.

Disability access policy

  • Develop a policy that describes the event’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion and how the event will achieve this.

Resource list

The resources below are available to consult in the early stages of planning. 

Document / Resource Comments Location

Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014)

Provides a wealth of information about access and inclusion from an arts perspective, much of which is applicable for other types of events www.artsaccess.org.nz(external link)
Christchurch City Council Get Set Go Guide and Planning Sheets give a general guide to event planning www.ccc.govt.nz(external link)
Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN) and Attitude is Everything (UK), Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events www.streetartsnetwork.org.uk(external link)
Barrier Free New Zealand Trust Guidelines and resources on a range of relevant topics www.barrierfree.org.nz(external link)
Selwyn District Council Event Planning Guide and Event Planning Resources A general guide to event planning – checklists, examples and forms www.selwyn.govt.nz(external link)
Blind Foundation. Accessible signage guidelines Advice on signage features that will make it most easily read blindfoundation.org.nz/how-we-can-help/businesses-and-professionals/accessible-signage-and-buildings/(external link)
Office for Disability Issues website A range of useful resources and links, including Effective communication with deaf people; disability responsiveness; accessible communications www.odi.govt.nz/guidance-and-resources(external link)

Equal Access Pty Ltd Australia

Overview of events access issues / Checklist

www.disabilityaccessconsultants.com.au/accessible-public-events/(external link)

Be Accessible website

Access information particularly relevant to venues, access accreditation scheme and a self-assessment option www.beaccessible.org.nz/be-welcome(external link)

Promoting your event

Information about an event is essential to both the organisers and the attendees and communicating effectively with people with disabilities is fundamental.  If a potential attendee has a disability, or would go to the event with a disabled person, this information is even more important. 

From the attendee perspective, there are three key stages when information makes a difference: deciding whether to attend, putting in place any necessary arrangements, and participating fully and positively in the event.

Promotional materials 

  • Consider the format you will use to promote your event.
  • Have a range of formats to reach people with disabilities. E.g. printed material, large print, audio, website.
  • Printed material is large enough to read easily and has adequate colour contrast.
  • Website accessibility guidelines are meet (e.g. readable by screen readers).  

Contact information

  • Include contact email address, phone number and website address on promotional material.
  • Offer a method for people to ask questions, i.e. 'Contact us at….. if you have a questions'. 
  • Ensure your event booking service know/can find answers to accessibility questions, or provide them with contact details for someone who can assist.

Event venue details

  • Clarity regarding the location of the event is important – street address, plus nearest landmarks, cross streets etc.
  • Maps are great, especially if they have accessibility features marked, e.g. mobility parking, accessible toilets. 
  • Maps should be uncluttered with large font and good colour contrast. Web based maps that enable size adjustments can be helpful.
  • Provide information about the type of venue, i.e. indoors or outdoors:
    • If outdoor, include if ground surfaces that are easy for a person using a wheelchair to move over, e.g. even, firm, free of hazards.
    • If indoor, include if there full access to all aspects of the event, i.e. level, ramps or steps.

Event timing 

  • Include event start and end times to help with planning of transport or care arrangements.
  • Include when the venue opens and closes.  

Affordability 

  • Provide clear information on cost, including any costs beyond entry fee.
  • Let people know about any concessions for carers, Community Services Card holders, KiwiAble Card holders, or by age.  
  • Include how to pay and who to contact for more information about costs.

Resource list 

Document / Resource Comments Location
Christchurch City Council events planning workshops General promotion and publicity ideas and examples www.ccc.govt.nz(external link)
Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN) and Attitude is Everything (UK), Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events.  Checklists, examples, discussion of marketing events www.streetartsnetwork.org.uk(external link)
Blind Foundation. Advice on making your website accessible Free resources and consultancy service and resources www.blindfoundation.org.nz/how-we-can-help/businesses-and-professionals/accessible-documents-and-websites/(external link)
Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014) Excellent information on communication with people with disabilities.  There is an online Q&A template “Marketing to the disabled community checklist” www.artsaccess.org.nz(external link)
Attitude is Everything website: Improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music Information on what information is needed on your website www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk/resources/practical-guides/access-information(external link)

Getting to and from the event

The current terrain in Christchurch poses particular challenges for people with disabilities. 

General

  • Multiple options for getting to the event. The more the better.
  • Check for roadworks in the vicinity that may affect travel.

Bus travel 

  • Easy access by bus.
  • Ensure buses are wheelchair accessible.
  • Know how far the venue is from the bus stop.
  • Offer the ability to wait under cover.
  • Promote the nearest bus routes and how/where to find the bus schedule.
  • Check real time information such as road/route changes.
  • Check if you need extra buses.

Car travel 

  • Provide directions on how to get there.
  • Offer a drop-off and pick-up point near the main entrance so a person with a disability can get close to the entrance and the car can be parked elsewhere.
  • Designated and ample Mobility Car Parking.
  • Ability to extend Mobility Car Parking as needed when people arrive.  
  • Sign-posted accessible route from car parks to the event entrance.
  • If parking is not available, confirm where the nearest place people can park (including nearest Mobility Car Parks).
  • Consider allowing parking be booked or reserved.

Taxis

  • Designated taxi drop-off and pick-up point. Covered for those waiting is best.  
  • Some people may use maxi taxis, which have a hoist and require space to lower and raise this.
  • Confirm the distance from the nearest taxi stand to the venue.

Entry and exit to the venue

  • Provide a site layout/map showing entry and exit points and other key features such as ramps.
  • Ramps to be compliant with the Building Code with respect to slope steepness and turns and have handrails and slip-resistant flooring.
  • If the accessible entrance is not the main entrance, confirm it be unlocked and unobscured and have good signage.
  • Automatic doors are preferred to turn-style entries or doors which are difficult to open. 
  • Consider having an event staff member at the entry to assist.
  • Consider how people will exit the event in emergency situations:
    • Accessible emergency exits location.
    • Systems of allocating staff to assist people with disabilities.
    • Both visual and auditory signals.

Resource list

Document / Resource Comments Location
Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014) Excellent information on issues of travel to and from events www.artsaccess.org.nz(external link)

At the event

An event that is easy to move around is more enjoyable for everyone. 

Safe and usable

  • If your event is not level, ensure there are safe ramps or lift entry to all aspects of the event.
  • If there are barriers for people with mobility impairments, it is very important that this is made known so people can decide if they want to attend.
  • If seating location is restricted – people generally prefer to have choice - this may deter attendees.
  • Have reception/information/payments desk height easily accessible to people in a wheelchair.
  • All ramps compliant with the Building Code with respect to slope steepness and turns.
  • All ramps have handrails.
  • All ramps, stairs and other surfaces slip-resistant.

Amenities

  • Include accessible EFTPOS and ATM machines.
  • A direct taxi phone line.
  • A hearing loop or other hearing assist device.

Getting around

  • Good signage – clear, legible, contrasting background, adequate size lettering.
  • Passageways clear of obstacles.

Seating

  • Designated areas where people with disabilities may sit to best enjoy the event. This should be an option and not mandated seating.
  • Rest sitting available throughout public spaces during the event. 
  • Seating that is easy to get up from.
  • Furniture and fittings that are free of hazards.

Toilets 

  • Ample accessible toilets, which may be permanent or portable. 
  • Good signage to the accessible toilets.
  • An accessible family room.
  • Enough room for a person using a wheelchair to turn 360 degrees, and a room for a companion.

Service dogs

  • A policy allowing access for service dog.
  • Amenities for service dogs.

Resource list

Document / Resource

Comments

Location

Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014)

Excellent ideas to address access issues

www.artsaccess.org.nz(external link)

Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN) and Attitude is Everything (UK), Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all. 

Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events.

www.streetartsnetwork.org.uk(external link)

Attitude is Everything website, Improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music

Information on viewing areas to improve the experience of disabled audience

www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk/resources/practical-guides/add-a-viewing-area(external link)

Barrier Free New Zealand Trust

Information on ramp and toilet standards

www.barrierfree.org.nz(external link)

 

 

Customer service

The confidence of staff and event personnel is fundamental to access.  Investing in improving the knowledge and skills of event staff and volunteers can have a positive payback. 

Accessibility and inclusion are more likely if you have experienced staff and volunteers assisting disabled people, who understand their requirements, and have the right skills and attitudes.

Assistance from event staff

  • Convey a willingness to listen and help.
  • Train staff on disability and access matters. This is often known as Disability Awareness, and might include definitions, etiquette, labels.  
  • Have designated event staff or volunteers who can assist a person with a disability. Know where will the designated personnel be located.
  • All staff should know what to do when alerted to the potential need for assistance.
  • Consider location of staff, e.g. car park, entrance, to assist with seating
  • Ensure enough marshalls/volunteers.
  • Confirm if any staff/volunteers know sign language.
  • Do not assume a person in a wheelchair can get out of it (or if they can, that they want to)– everyone is an individual.
  • Not all disabilities are visible.

Audio-description 

Audio description makes performances more accessible to people with visual impairments.   It is an additional narration track intended primarily for blind and visually impaired consumers of visual media (including television and film, dance, opera, and visual art).

Resource list

Document / Resource

Comments

Location

Christchurch City Council Events Planning documents

Get Set Go Guide includes sections on working with volunteers

www.ccc.govt.nz(external link)

Arts Access Aotearoa: Arts for All: Opening doors to disabled people (2009) / Arts for All: Increasing access to the arts for disabled people (2014)

Excellent ideas to welcome all people and understanding disability. Also includes information about audio description

www.artsaccess.org.nz(external link) 

Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN) and Attitude is Everything (UK), Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all.

Comprehensive information relevant to outdoor events, but with good information across all types of events. 

www.streetartsnetwork.org.uk(external link)

Upper Hutt City Council: DIScover: Serving customers with disabilities and associated Training Guide

Useful guide regarding customer service and disability issues

www.upperhuttcity.com/community/disability-support/(external link)

Post-event evaluation

A major goal of any event is for the participants to have their expectations met or exceeded.   

We encourage you to identify whether there are any access and inclusion issues in your evaluation. You may find that funding is increasingly dependent on evaluation of previous events, and being able to take a disability focus shows you take accessibility and inclusion seriously.

Evaluate your event

  • Find out if you met your event objectives
  • Find out how people heard about the event
  • Find out what participants liked and didn’t like, so you can make any changes for next time
  • Get an idea of how many people took part
  • Get information to help with planning the event next time
  • Get information for funders and sponsors

Surveys

  • A survey should ask questions about access and other factors that affected access and inclusion.
  • If you have an online registration process, ask permission to contact participants after your event. This will enable you to send out a post-event survey. 
  • You may offer a prize to those who return surveys on line or at the event itself.
  • Your survey can ask a question about disability status so you can analyse the results for people with and without a disability (the same way you might analyse results by age group, gender, etc).  

Additional options for evaluation

  • Observing participants on the day.
  • Chatting informally during the event, to participants, staff, sponsors, stallholders, etc.
  • Having a complaints and comments process.
  • Focus groups.
  • Collect anecdotes.
  • An event ‘de-brief’.
  • Photo or video to capture accessibility successes and challenges.
  • Try to find out what the event meant to attendees, what difference it made to them.

Note that the Be Welcome programme includes events – you can engage them to work with you to improve access and inclusion – contact details below.

Complaints

  • Collect negative feedback before, during or after the event. 
  • Instruct everyone associated with the event to be alert for complaints and to note these.
  • Encourage the person to put their concerns in writing so the event organisers can respond formally.
  • Respond to all complaints.
  • Be aware that people can complain to the Human Rights Commission if