Suzanne Bull access and sustainability toolkit

Attitude is Everything, Julie’s Bicycle and AGF publish access and environmental sustainability toolkit

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In the summer of 2023, Julie’s Bicycle surveyed disabled people about access and environmental sustainability at live events and festivals.

The key findings were:

  • Sustainability is a consideration for more than two-thirds of disabled respondents.
  • One-third of respondents feel that environmental solutions are not easy to navigate and do not meet their access requirements.
  • Only 22 per cent of respondents feel included and able to participate in events and festivals that align with their climate values.

A Greener Future took an in-depth look at three festivals and their experience of providing accessibility for disabled people compatible with the festival’s environmental sustainability goals. These case studies highlight where the issues have been and the solutions that each festival has developed along with areas where further work is needed.

As a result, Attitude is Everything, Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future have now published an innovative toolkit that supports the UK’s events industry to implement practical solutions that tackle both climate change and accessibility.

The toolkit was launched at (GEI16) Green Events and Innovation Conference with a presentation by Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future.

This new resource came from Attitude is Everything’s founder Suzanne Bull MBE during the pandemic. She had a rising concern that disabled people were being left behind in efforts to drive forward sustainable practices. The disabled community wasn’t included in the climate change conversations, and their access requirements weren’t being considered. Therefore, practical solutions to tackle the climate crisis often conflict with solutions that improve access. Bull felt that there was only one course of action to take – to bring together the leaders in accessibility in live events, Attitude is Everything, and the leaders in climate change solutions for culture, Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future.

As well as revealing the key barriers that disabled people experience within initiatives that tackle sustainability, the toolkit outlines practical ways in which venues, events, and festivals can implement accessible solutions to climate change There are also three case studies from Green Man, Forwards Festival, and Shambala from assessments carried out by A Greener Future. These festivals volunteered to be transparent about their own difficulties and commitments to find solutions that are inclusive to all.

However, this is only the start of the conversation. The toolkit does not have all the answers or the solutions but instead comes with a “call to action” to the live events industry to make access and environmental solutions equal partners. The toolkit gives the foundations for the sector to build upon. Throughout 2024, the events industry is being urged to test out the toolkit and give feedback.

Together, Attitude is Everything, Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future is asking the sector to:

  • Test the suggestions throughout this toolkit
  • Connect your sustainability team with your access team and work through solutions together.
  • Engage with disabled people throughout every step of your planning process. Listen to disabled people and work with them to find solutions.
  • Connect with other local events, venues, and festivals to share ideas and resources.
  • Connect with membership organisations, and as a collective, find ways to increase the supply of sustainable, accessible equipment and facilities.

This toolkit is part of a pilot programme. Attitude is Everything, Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future want to hear from events professionals about how events and festivals are using these suggestions to strengthen your commitments to sustainability and accessibility.

Bull, founder of Attitude is Everything, said: “Just like there’s no music on a dead planet, there’s no access either. Public demand is growing for businesses to take their environmental and access responsibilities seriously, and that public includes disabled people. More than 1 billion disabled people worldwide are more impacted by climate change than non-disabled people due to the additional access requirements and health concerns many of them have when disasters strike countries and our cities become clogged with polluted air. My hope is that this collaboration and the toolkit will be the catalyst for change.”