The Culture Matters project puts inclusion and access at the top of the agenda and we were made-up when Dot Everyone gave us a grant of £500 to maximise the access to this year’s MakeFest that forms part of the project’ programme.
Whilst Liverpool Central Library is a fabulously accessible space, when a big event like MakeFest comes to town then its a real game changer. We’d started making our plans as to how the event could be more inclusive and accessible, specifically for people with disabilities through our work and consultation with Sandfield Park School and their students. Through these conversations we realised that altering the space with Maker Stalls could in fact make an accessible building quite in accessible, so the fab folk at MakeFest rejigged some plans to make sure their was room for people in different types of wheelchairs to make their way around the stalls. These conversations also brought to our attention the valuable work that PA’s do in supporting people with disabilities to engage in activities and how seeing a familiar face or having a guide in new settings is key to feeling included.
With the small grant and armed with this knowledge, we were able to enhance MakeFest’s accessibility by purchasing a portable ramp to aid access to a side of stage in the Library that is only accessible by steps and also to book some Access Stewards whose role was to enable people to participate fully in the activities. The Access Stewards supported people to make their way around the stalls, watched out for pathways getting blocked with Maker-Kit and helped young people with disabilities to engage with the activities on offer. One of the young people who was supported on the day told us that it had been “the best day ever”… well it certainly felt like that to us as well! So we’d just like to say a big thank you to the folk at Sandfield Park School who opened our eyes to things we hadn’t even considered (we were truly schooled!) and to Dot Everyone for giving us the pennies to do even more to make sure that EVERYONE could get the most out of MakeFest!