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Access for all?

Access for all?

Access for all?

Penny Pepper and others in the town are serious about accessibility and inclusivity in Hastings and St Leonards. Recently she wrote about the importance of event organisers considering wheelchair users, people who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, those who experience chronic fatigue, ill health and pain issues, and those with mental health issues and sensory impairments.

“Can we have more access info please to all events and workshops?! I am not going away,” writes Penny Pepper. “I am a committed campaigner on access and equality. If you don’t include or think of disabled artists, participants or audience, this is exclusionary. Don’t say inclusive and not be – please!

It’s NOT all about wheelchair-users. I am one and my access is obvious – although one/a few steps are surmountable with ramps – that you can borrow from HAVE (Hastings Access to Venues and Events) which I run with two other locals, Theresa Hodge and Kev Towner. Also, many wheelchair users are not glued to the seat, and may be able to access an event.

“Disability under the law includes people with mental health issues, sensory impairments, and chronic ill health.

“Info is everything. We then make the choice! (Or plot out, as do I, where the nearest accessible loo is).

“For example:

How many steps?
Is there a railing? (For visually impaired people, etc)
Is there a noisy background? (For hearing impaired people and those like me with anxiety disorder etc)
Are there any seats? (For those with chronic fatigue, pain issues etc)
Is there a toilet? (For the whole human race)

“And finally… are you welcoming??
What would Frida Kahlo say…? Ian Dury? Robert Wyatt? Older Matisse? Renoir? Talouse Latrec? Etc etc.

“I could suggest more, but that’s enough for now. I will recruit a team… to ask about access, every time it is left off. It helps in our fundraising and campaigning too. Collaboration and dialogue go a long way, so please get in touch via email : hello@haveonline.org.uk

Penny Pepper

The Naked Punk: Writer * Poet * Activist

Posted 16:09 Monday, Sep 23, 2019 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

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  1. Heather Grief

    I find it ironic that your article appears a few days after ‘Steps to the Sea’ – photographic exhibition at St. Mary in the Castle. I wonder how many disabled friendly access points there are to the beach between Old Town Hastings and De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill? And do any of them provide a firm surface for people to get across the pebbles to the sand and sea?

    Comment by Heather Grief — Thursday, Sep 26, 2019 @ 18:44

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