“You need to be prepared for negative attitudes [from staff].”
It may take a few visits for visually impaired people to feel comfortable with your facility and the surrounding environment.
Make your participants comfortable about the venue by describing it in the event literature. If they are arriving on public transport or by taxi, explain that a volunteer will be waiting for them at the front of the venue.
Include a mobile telephone number that they can contact on the day of the event if they have any problems.
Some people might not wish to ask for additional help. Therefore, it is important that you encourage open discussion with your participants.
Make sure you listen and accommodate their additional needs. If you are unable to make immediate changes, reassure them that you will resolve the issue for future events.
If you are a sighted person, we recommend you experience the challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people at your venue. This shouldn’t replace working with visually impaired people, but will show you the barriers they face.
Basic items such as blindfolds and simulation spectacles can be used to simulate sight impaired conditions.
You might be scared by all the legal requirements, but it isn’t that difficult to provide an inclusive environment for visually impaired people. With some thought and planning, you can make sure they will enjoy their time at your venue.
We recommend you provide accessibility and awareness training to your customer-facing staff. There are many training providers that can help you.
It will help you and your staff consider the challenges faced by visually impaired people and improve your service.
Sport England has an audit checklist for assessing whether facilities are accessible for people with disabilities. We recommend you use this audit at your venue: