Live music

A charity which aims to improve access to music venues for deaf and disabled people has launched a new charter of best practice for grassroots venues.

In partnership with Music Venue Trust, Attitude is Everything launched the initiative to target small and independent UK music venues with the aim of implementing low or zero-cost access solutions to help the disabled. The charter forms part of the charity’s Breaking The Sound Barriers programme, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

While many people with limited mobility require the assistance of wheelchairs and folding mobility scooters to travel, many music venues have yet to make an improvement to access for disabled customers. Suzanne Bull, CEO of Attitude is Everything, told Music Week: “I’m delighted that Paul Hamlyn Foundation has enabled us to further support grassroots music venues which are the lifeblood of the live music industry.

“Many artists cut their teeth and hone their performances in local venues all across the UK, and to be able to open these venues up to disabled artists and audiences is really exciting.”

The charity’s new Grassroots Charter will allow venues without a disabled toilet to sign up, as they can still liaise with local businesses to agree on the use of their facilities and collaborate to make their venue more accessible.

To go with the new charter launch, Music Venues Trust member Tunbridge Wells Forum has become the first grassroots venue to be awarded a bronze level certificate. The venue is now retro-fitting an accessible toilet and has adjusted external access routes to enable level access to all areas. Richard Simm, co-owner of Tunbridge Wells Forum with Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davvyd, said: “The Forum’s honoured to have been the first venue to be accredited under this scheme. Attitude is Everything’s advice has been invaluable in improving access by better understanding the needs of deaf and disabled patrons.

“Live music, enjoyed up close as only a small venue can provide, is a beautiful thing, and should be available to all – so we wish Natalie and the team all the best in rolling this out to other venues across the country.”


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