ACCESS DAY 2019
Today is Disabled Access day, a chance for us to celebrate and understand just why we’ve placed great importance on accessibility here at Pride Cymru.
Individuals in the LGBT+ community understand how it feels to be treated differently just for being themselves, now imagine being LGBT+ with a disability. Imagine finding barriers that prevent you from accessing the love and support of your LGBT+ peers. Imagine being told you cannot participate in something that celebrates part of what makes you who you are. Imagine finding the bravery to come out as LGBT+ only to feel rejected by the very community of which you are a valid member. Not on our watch.
Without sufficient access provision, this would be the reality for many people looking to participate in our yearlong programme of events. From BSL interpreters and wheelchair access, to two for one access tickets and so much more, we make sure that everyone can feel welcome and supported at Pride Cymru.
We also ensure that all our volunteers receive access training. Not only is this a great way to make them aware of access issues and break down the stigma related to disability (something we think everyone should be trained on) but it also means that across the Big Weekend, wherever you are there will always be someone on hand to help with your access needs. In addition to this our volunteer team this year included 20% of people that consider themselves to have a disability.
We’re proud to work with Cardiff People First, an incredible organisation run by and for people with a learning disability in Cardiff.
Zarah Kaleem, Project Officer at Cardiff People First said: “Our trainers were really happy to train the staff and other volunteers. Everyone liked the way they were treated as people first, not individuals with a disability. Our ideas were taken into consideration and the approach was great where the Access Manager came to tell us about Pride so we knew what to expect.”
As well as being involved in the training, Cardiff PeopleFirst also volunteered over the Big Weekend, Zara said, “They thoroughly enjoyed their time volunteering and want to keep on working for Pride every year.”
In addition to their training and volunteer support, Cardiff People First helped by making easy read documents and videos of the parade route and directions from key bus and train stops to the event.
Making all of this happen is our incredible access manager Helen. Helen works all year round to ensure that we’re able to improve our accessibility year on year. Without Helen, Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend wouldn’t be the access friendly event it is today, an achievement that saw us receive a Gold Attitude is Everything Award for our 2018 event. But that doesn’t mean the hard work stops and Helen has already been working away on the plans to make this year’s event bigger and better, which also means expanding on our access provisions.
Helen says: “We have worked incredibly hard to make Access the core of Pride Cymru. Year on year we have increased the facilities available to volunteers, customers and artists. Access is involved in every area of the event from a viewing platform for the main stage, a buggy to help those who can’t walk the parade to our wonderful BSL interpreters and much more. My saying is ‘If you want to come to Pride Cymru, then you should be able to.’ As a person with invisible illnesses and chronic conditions, I understand what goes into planning a day out and hope the work at Pride Cymru allows more people to feel confident in attending. There is plenty more to be done and we will continue to work hard to make Access normal not an extra/after thought.”
Helen has dedicated herself to ensuring disabilities of all kinds are not a barrier to attending any Pride Cymru event. To date Helen and the whole Pride Cymru team have been successful in providing a a disabled viewing platform for the main stage, a buggy for those with poor mobility, fantastic British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, dedicated disabled toilet facilities, and even a Mobiloo as standard. There is also a “Quiet Area” where for anyone needing to “Take time out”.
This Access Day 2019, we want to say a massive thank you to Helen, Cardiff People First and everyone who has worked hard to make Pride Cymru as welcoming and inclusive as possible.
If you have any questions about accessibility for our 2019 event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org