MAKING SURE EVERYONE IS INCLUDED IN YOUR FUN PALACE
Talk to people. Connect with local branches of Scope, Mencap, Age UK, MIND, Connect the Elderly, and those running activities or taking part in activities around you. If you are non-disabled speak to people living with health conditions, disabled people, deaf/Deaf people about contributing as Makers as well as joining in.
Be radically accessible – pay attention to inclusivity from the start – make work and activities that others can join in. Could you ask a local BSL student to interpret for you on the day? Could they teach others at your Fun Palace to sign simple things? Can you find someone who could pick people up in the local area who would find public transport difficult to navigate? Pro-actively and radically accessible:
Have you thought about making work for and with specific groups, or handing over for those groups to make for others? Eg. reminiscence games, gardening, and music activities can be incredibly beneficial people with dementia.
We have a great blog from Annie Bannister about making a sensory garden
Mencap have a good guide on communicating with people with a learning disability
Age UK wrote a great blog for us ‘Five Top Tips for Making a Fun Palace With and For Older People’
One easy to adapt thing is your print – from signs to programme notes, often they’re too wordy and using a tiny font. Think about where signs are placed, the font type and size in handouts and produce a large print version for those who might prefer or need it. Here’s a quick guide from the Sensory Trust on font types and sizes here and some great resources on the Sign Design Society here
We have created an accessible poster which can be used alongside other Fun Palaces posters, so you can let people know about your Fun Palace. You can download and print a colour or black and white version here. Make sure you fill in the boxes with clear, concise handwriting, or ideally print labels to stick in the boxes. Or if you are more tech savvy and want to edit your poster in Canva (you can add all of the details about your Fun Palace) then you can do so here. We have guidelines on filling in the accessible poster here.
There are standards that websites should follow, which are summarised here on the gov.uk website, and small things can make a big difference – such as adding descriptions to key image’s ‘alt’ tags so that screen readers can describe them.
If you’re producing video content and uploading it, YouTube have a simple closed captioning feature that will mean you can caption everything you upload – there are really clear instructions here.
Try to be clear about how accessible your venue is: check the basics; accessible toilets, wide corridors, good lighting, clear signage, tables that wheelchairs with arm rests can fit under, seating for those who cannot stand for long amounts of time. Does it have a hearing loop? Ramped access? Could you hire a ramp or hearing loop system for those with hearing aids, or ask a hearing loop or ramp provider to donate a system/ramp for the day of the Fun Palace?
Actively think about how others access your activities, building, print, and online materials: a small amount of thought and time on your part will make a huge difference for someone else. Remember to delegate if you can – find someone with time to look after this one job, ask around if there are any occupational therapists, or teachers specialising in SEN, or health and social care professionals in your networks who will know this already and might be willing to help out.
A Quiet Space: Fun Palaces can be hectic, jam-packed with activities and at times gloriously chaotic. This is great! For some neurodiverse people, this can be quite a lot of sensory input, and may become overwhelming. Are you able to create a quiet room, space, or zone in your Fun Palace for people to take ten minutes if they need to? A space free of noise, hustle and bustle and too much visual input (clutter / posters / artwork etc).
All Gender Toilets: A lot of venues are now moving towards gender neutral toilets, or at least having one toilet designated as gender neutral. This ensures that trans and non-binary people feel welcome in your space. It can be hard if you have gendered toilets existing in your venue, but there are solutions to this. Gendered Intelligence have guidance here on how to create all-gender toilets in your space, and also provide printable signs as well as more information on why all-gender toilets are important.
This may feel like a lot. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start small, do the things you can do, even if that’s only one or two things. Next year, when you start to think about your Fun Palace plan in one or two more ways to be more accessible.
Above all, remember that Fun Palaces are about making with rather than for.