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Take on the Access Challenge

Access to your union’s facilities is vital for so many students - which is why NUS has teamed with Attitude is Everything, Disabled Go and Changing Places Campaign to launch a campaign to improve access in students’ unions.
 
The Access Challenge puts the onus to students’ unions to improve access and will reward those who demonstrate the ‘best effort’ in improving access for their members.
 
By working with Attitude is Everything, Disabled Go and Changing Places Campaign you can find out how accessible your union is and how you can improve this.
 
Rupy Kaur, NUS Disabled Students’ Officer said: “I’m delighted to launch this campaign. So many students have accessibility needs, this campaign will raise awareness of these and will ultimately improve the accessibility of our students’ unions.
 
“I would really encourage every union in the country to get involved. NUS will award a prize to the union who has made the ‘best effort’ in improving access – I’m really excited to find out how far we can take this campaign and how much difference it will make to students’ lives across the country.”
 
How to get involved?
Email Rupy.Kaur@nus.org.uk to register your interest.
 
Who is this open to?
Everyone - we want as many unions to be involved as possible.
 
Will it cost anything?
There is a small cost associated with the Disabled Go audit, but your union will be promoted on its website so current and future students can find out what facilities they can access.
 
I’m a student – what can I do to help?
You can help by lobbying your students’ union to take part. We have written a model motion which you can take to your union to make sure it is taking part.
 
How will the prize for ‘best effort’ be decided?
At the end of the year a panel including representatives from the three charities involved and NUS will decide who has made the ‘best effort’ to improve. We understand that not all unions have the resources to make drastic changes to buildings and that there may not be enough space to install a Changing Places toilet – so this is why it will be awarded for ‘best effort’ as all this will be taken into account.
 
 
Attitude is Everything
 
Attitude is Everything improves deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working with audiences, artists, venues, festivals and the music industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice. Under the Charter we look at the physical and sensory access at a live music venue, festival or event, as well as how Deaf and disabled customers can get information and book tickets and assess how staff and volunteers treat Deaf and disabled customers. We then work with them to ensure all aspects of a customer’s experience are as accessible as possible.
 
We are really excited to be asked to team up with the NUS and its Access Challenge. Universities need to make sure that deaf and disabled students have the same opportunities as everyone else to engage in student life, meeting new people and having fun. The Access Challenge will ensure all students’ union venues have the opportunity to look at what they do and how they do it.
 
What can Attitude is Everything do for your Students’ Union?
  • Help you become a Charter Venue.
  • Assess your venue and then give you feedback and recommendations on how to improve its access.
  • Work with you to implement effective change.
  • Assist in producing an Action Plan on how you can achieve the Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels of our Charter of Best Practice.
  • Provide Disability Equality Training.
  • Get Deaf and disabled students to Mystery Shop your venue.
 
What can students do for Attitude is Everything?
Become a Mystery Shopper and get free tickets to gigs in return for writing a feedback report on your experience at the venue for us.
 
Disabled Go
 
DiasbledGo is a national disability organisation that provides detailed access information to give disabled people freedom and choice when visiting venues, whether a university student union or a pub in a city. DisabledGo currently feature 55 university unions on their website, ensuring that prospective students, staff and visitors are informed of the access before they arrive on site.  
 
DisabledGo’s involvement with the NUS, and subsequently Access Challenge, is a really positive step forward in ensuring that disabled people who use the unions are provided with the right information in order to make autonomous choices about their visit. The guides are not only of benefit to students, but also friends, carers, employees and gig organisers who may want to use union facilities for an event.
 
Finally, the wider impact of DisabledGo’s involvement with the NUS and Access Challenge is to bring a wider sense of understanding within unions as to what they can do more to improve the service they are providing to disabled people. With 55 unions involved so far, it’s fair to say this campaign is well underway!
 
Changing Places Campaign
 
Imagine having to have your continence pad changed on the floor of a public toilet or be forced to make a decision not to go to university or college because you can not use the toilets on campus. Most of us would agree that this just isn’t acceptable. But it is the reality for many individuals whose disability means that they are not able to use standard accessible toilets.
 
They need Changing Places toilets – with a changing bench, hoist and plenty of space to move around. The Changing Places campaign are proud to work with NUS to get these facilities on campuses around the UK.

 

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