Edinburgh International Book Festival wins a Euan’s Guide Accessibility Award for the fourth year running

Edinburgh International Book Festival wins a Euan’s Guide Accessibility Award for the fourth year running

Disabled Access Charity Euan’s Guide announces the winners of the 2019 Accessible Edinburgh Festivals Awards, where venues and festival organisers are rewarded for their commitment to taking steps toward inclusivity. This year’s winners include the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Bedlam Theatre and Festival Theatre.

Each year the awards recognise the improvements that are being made to make the festivals more accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. The Edinburgh International Book Festival remains unbeaten in the Most Accessible Pop-up Venue Award with 2019 being the fourth consecutive win. Euan’s Guide considered many temporary venues for this award, but said “none matched the strength of the offering at the Book Festival”. Our improvements to site this year include a new safe and accessible drop off point and dedicated members of staff based at the Information Desk in the Entrance Tent to assist any visitors with additional needs.

This year also sees the return of the Changing Places toilet and the free and drop-in Sensory Storytelling Spectacular in the Baillie Gifford Story Box, both of which enable participation beyond that which is offered at the majority of other venues.

“We want everyone to feel welcome at the Book Festival and are committed to continually improving how we achieve this.  We are thrilled that Euan’s Guide has, once again, recognised the changes we have made this year,” said Sophie Moxon, Executive Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

This year sees the introduction of the Euan’s Guide Hello Award, which is designed to celebrate the venue that creates the warmest welcome for all of its visitors. The winner of this new award is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Shop and Box Office, who this year held their first Disabled Access Day ahead of the Festival allowing people to find out about their services in a relaxed environment.

While four out of the five awards go to venues, the Spirit of Inclusion Award is awarded to an organisation that has exceeded all expectations and has shown that disabled access and inclusion are woven within the fabric of what they offer. This year that award goes to the Edinburgh International Festival, who have a wide range of accessible performances as part of their core offering. This year they had a total of 24 accessible shows, the most they have ever offered.

The Euan’s Guide Award for the Most Accessible Large Permanent Venue is awarded to The Festival Theatre and its adjoining sister theatre, The Studio. These spaces are significant as they not only offer accessible experiences for their audience, but also the performers.

Student led Bedlam Theatre has been recognised for their commitment and determination to make an old building accessible and have been awarded this year’s Most Accessible Small Permanent Venue Award.

Speaking about the Awards, Paul Ralph, Access and Inclusion Director at Euan’s Guide said: “Each year we’re delighted to see the festivals making additional improvements through their actions and offerings. This year was no exception with a real focus being placed on pre-arrival information and creating a positive first impression.”

Euan’s Guide is a charity which aims to give disabled people access to the information they need to allow them to make informed decisions on the suitability of a venue and giving them the confidence to go out and explore, find out more on their website.

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