Enabling Access to Open Gardens
Disabled Access? A very dated phrase that occurs just once on this website, and it's right here in this sentence. You won't be seeing it again.
Our preferred phrase is Enabled Access.
What is Enabled Access?
If you struggle a little in getting around, or indeed are a wheel user, you may need information about the gardens that you proposing to visit - not when you arrive, but in advance before you decide to travel.
It's all about providing advance access information
Some event organisers already go some way towards this, but including access comments or wheelchair logos in the garden programme which is collected on arrival is of no real use - it's simply too late.
The key is to provide in advance information about gardens and your event so that visitors with less than ideal mobility can make an informed decision as to whether they can come along.
Is it all about wheel users?
No, although they may certainly benefit. Visitors will span a mobility spectrum ranging from those who need no help apart from perhaps on steps, to those who need the occasional helping arm, through to those who use wheels. Organisers can't be expected to provide any help (but they can if they wish) - they just need to provide access information so that a visitor can decide, before they travel, whether an event is suitable for them.
How does our scheme work?
Event organisers produce a document (an Access Statement) which details access information for each of the gardens, and also for facilities at other venues such as the village hall, church etc. This is produced as a PDF or as a page on their own event website.
When a potential visitor contacts an event organiser, they simply provide their Access Statement.
Must all gardens be accessible?
No - that would be nice, but it's not the point at all. Organisers won't ensure that gardens are accessible, and indeed, many can't be made so. They just need to be open, clear and honest about any obstacles or limitations that might restrict access for people with less than ideal mobility.
If organisers adopt this scheme, they may well find that some garden owners will gain a better understanding of accessibility and may well then make modifications to their gardens - not a bad thing really.
Is the scheme mandatory?
No - it's entirely up to event organisers. The bottom line is that it's a moral issue - the modern world is all about accessibility - for everyone.
How can we view an event's Access Statement?
If an event listing displays our green Enabled Access logo, then the organisers will have produced an Access Statement. Simply contact them via their email address.
It's still early days ...
We only started to promote this scheme in 2019, so we have some way to go before a significant number of event organisers adopt it. Please bear with us ...