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Academy venues recognised for disabled access initiative

Dave Robinson 28 June 2013
Academy venues recognised for disabled access initiative

The Academy Music Group (AMG) has achieved recognition for its continued commitment to access to live events across its venues for deaf and disabled patrons from Attitude is Everything (AIE), a leading charity and access expert to the live music industry.

AMG, owners of 12 nationwide O2 Academy venues, as well as London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Glasgow’s O2 ABC, signed up to Attitude is Everything’s ‘Charter of Best Practice’ in 2006, which encourages venues and promoters to publicly show their commitment to improved access. Six AMG venues are signed up to the Bronze Plus level of the Charter with the other eight venues receiving Silver status. The photograph shows O2 Academy Brixton, one of the Silver status facilities.

Attitude is Everything has provided advice and training for AMG venues to achieve action plans for improvements and awareness for staff, as well as a comprehensive online resource, unique to each venue based on its size, age and limitations; ranging from accessible toilets, booking policy, priority entrance, signage, companion tickets, viewing areas and more.

"Ticket sales for disabled patrons to our venues have increased significantly over the last two years,” says Graham Walters, COO of AMG venues. “By working with Attitude is Everything, we have created a realistic action plan to work through each stage of the Charter. A number of our venues were built in the early 1900s, thus we identify solutions for the best practical options that are achievable with each general manager, taking on board feedback and training from Suzanne Bull and her team at Attitude is Everything.”

The Charter helps the music industry understand the requirements for deaf and disabled people to be as independent as possible at live shows.

“Working in partnership has been the key to the success of this project and I’m proud of the way in which AMG has embraced the Charter of Best Practice as well as the professional expertise from our team and the personal feedback from our Mystery Shoppers. I’m particularly delighted because I used O2 Academy Brixton in South London as my ‘pilot’ venue when I was developing our Disability Equality Training sessions, which are bespoke to the music industry, and when Attitude is Everything first began,” says Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO at Attitude Is Everything.

Blaine Harrison, lead vocalist of the indie rock band Mystery Jets and Attitude is Everything Patron concludes… “over the years that Mystery Jets have toured up and down the country, I have often been frustrated at the lack of enthusiasm regarding access to venues for both disabled audiences and disabled performers. However, I’m delighted to see that England’s heritage of wonderful old music halls and theatres, many of which are now O2 Academy venues are keeping up with improving access.”

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