top of page

Accessibility

I am not aware of any churches that discuss or even consider accessibility which is a wide ranging topic. While many do take action when forced to rarely do they ever consider this subject or take a proactive approach. The legal bit:

What are the legal requirements?

The Equality Act 2010 protects those who wear hearing aids as these individuals are classed as having a disability, that means that those who run businesses and provide services are obligated to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled service users, customers and colleagues. The act also tells us that information provided must be available in formats accessible to everyone so for example, Braille versions of documents and aids for the visually impaired and auxiliary services and aids for those who cannot hear. 

Physical Access:

Are those who have a physical impairment able to enter your church? Various government agencies have available to them grants to assist most churches to enable the ease of access. This access may include a lift, the type of doors used, ramps (interior as well as exterior), allocated areas for wheelchairs and buggies? But in this process do you go to the next stage and provide different surfaces so that people know that they are in the entrance, within the main body or elsewhere within the church or building?

Hearing Impairment:

An induction system should be installed for those who have a hearing impairment and where they can use the "T" switch on a hearing aid. Make sure your induction system is regularly maintained. When presenting videos include if at all possible subtitles for those who cannot hear what is being said. It is also important to note that even the very best induction loop system is next to useless if no one knows it is there are how to operate it, so staff training is an excellent policy and adequate signage is mandatory. Public buildings must also conform to certain parts of the Building Regulations, published by the Department for Communities & Local Government. Venues are expected to ensure that everyone can participate in activities such as concerts, lectures and presentations.

 

Other Sensory Items :

Have you considered the use smell, to enhance the experience, scented candles for instance. Touch different materials for different locations.

 

Visual Impairment:

 

Make sure that an environment exists for those who cannot see well, ensure that the scent and feel are mediums that can be explored. Examples are those who while preaching a message, may God forgive them, use a projector and PowerPoint. If words are presented, get someone to read them out clearly. It may be that a video is presented which contains words, again make sure that the words are read out so all can participate in the experience.

 

Other examples: Easter time a church provided a cobbled walk for those who could not see what was taking place, they experienced walking on the road. Those with visual impairment could experience the different texture so they could at least feel as though they were part of the experience.

Don't limit yourself to what you need but be mindful of the requirements of others, be of benefit for everyone.

bottom of page