Live music access charity Attitude Is Everything has announced a new Grassroots Venue Charter of Best Practice, which has emerged from its partnership with Music Venue Trust.
The new Charter is part of the charity’s Breaking The Sound Barriers programme, funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The initiative is targeted specifically at small and independent music UK venues, with the aim of implementing low or zero-cost access solutions that will help boost the growing audience of deaf and disabled music fans. It is also designed to complement Attitude Is Everything’s existing Charter of Best Practice.
"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," said Attitude Is Everything CEO Suzanne Bull (pictured). "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.
"Breaking the Sound Barriers means that we can fulfil a long-held desire to work closely in partnership with Music Venues Trust, an organisation that we hold in great esteem because of their work to support small music venues to thrive in the UK."
The Grassroots Charter will allow venues without a disabled toilet to sign up. Those without a disabled toilet can still make efforts to welcome customers by liaising with local businesses to agree use of their facilities, and signpost these for gig-goers.
Headed up by Natalie South, Attitude Is Everything’s new grassroots project manager, the Charter’s targets and accompanying guidance is designed to encourage venue organisers through a wide range of topics, and ultimately enable the achievement of Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
The charity has announced that the Grassroots Charter launches with official backing of the Music Venue Trust, and that MVT member Tunbridge Wells Forum is the first grassroots venue to be awarded a Bronze level certificate. The venue is now in the process of retro-fitting an accessible toilet and has recently made adjustments to external access routes to enable level access both into the performance space and into the backstage area.
Richard Simm, who co-owns Tunbridge Wells Forum with Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd, 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 team all the best in rolling this out to other venues across the country."
Music Venue Trust strategic director Beverley Whitrick said: "We are very pleased to have worked alongside Attitude is Everything over the last few years to enable a really positive Charter to come forward. It creates a process which supports grassroots music venues to understand and start to address the need foraccess. The Charter contains specific, achievable actions which these venues can take and be recognised for.
"We hope many more venues will be able to take positive steps in this area, supported by the bespoke approach Attitude is Everything is able to bring to this process."
To find out more about the new Charter, contact Natalie South via firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 020 7383 7979.