A special Disabled Access Day for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

case studies, charities, volunteers, Disabled Access Day, Stratford-Upon-Avon

A special Disabled Access Day for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The start of an accessible journey

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust celebrates the history of Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon and manages the five family homes that Shakespeare spent his life in. The Trust is on a journey to improve its accessibility, so getting involved on 12th March seemed like a natural step. With an aim of increasing awareness of their accessibility but with a limited budget, the team worked hard to put on a successful event.

We caught up with Becky Cund, Director of HR and Admin, who told us more about the trusts involvement.

Why did Shakespeare Birthplace Trust decide to get involved in Disabled Access Day?

The Trust are working on improving access across all of their sites. We felt that Disabled Access Day would be a great opportunity to show people what we have to offer. Disabled Access Day is just the start for the Trust's journey and we'll be doing it again next year.

What did you do on Disabled Access Day?

We hosted the event at Anne Hathaway's Cottage and opened our activity tent to all of our visitors. We had a memory box corner using our town collections and donated items, our Shakespearean Acting Troop Shakespeare Aloud! A balloon modeller, a face painter, spinners and weavers, craft activities, a musician offering visitors the opportunity to play musical instruments, brass rubbing amongst our usual offerings for the day.

We had a small amount of funding for the total access project, but the day cost us less than £500.

What feedback did you get from people who took part in the day?

We received some really positive feedback from visitors, volunteers and staff, these are two of my favourite:

 “It was lovely to meet you on Saturday - I just wanted to say thank you for the time you spent with my mum and me in the Memory / Activity marquee at Anne Hathaway's. Mum had a lovely time meeting lot of people and obviously reminiscing - and as someone who suffers from memory issues, it was a real boost to her! She's been talking about it a lot since then.” – visitor on Disabled Access Day.

“I'd find it hard to pick out one particular highlight. There was something very special about the whole atmosphere. There was a good range of activities on site and a welcoming feel to it all. I loved talking to the visitors and I loved being part of it. And the weather helped!” – member of staff at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

For us as an organisation, getting involved has been a really positive experience. Showing our staff and volunteers what we can do and also our local's the things on offer! It’s been a great start to a longer journey of transformation and progress!

What advice would you give to venues considering getting involved in Disabled Access Day?

Just do it! We were a little nervous about, we were aware that we may get some criticism if we didn't get it exactly right but it was quite the opposite - roll on next year!