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BBPA launches new pub accessibility guide

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has published new guidance for pubs, titled 'An Open Welcome: Making your pub more accessible for customers', which will help licensees make their venues as welcoming as possible for those with access needs.

An Open Welcome features advice for pubs ranging from employing people with disabilities, to training staff and importantly; the need for honest, up-to-date online information so that all customers can make an informed decision before they visit a pub.

It also includes detailed information on Disability Confident, a scheme led by Department for Work and Pensions to help publicans hire disabled talent, and specific advice on making pub toilets accessible and better suited for disability needs.

The BBPA has partnered with a number of organisations to develop the guidance, including Tourism For All, MotionSpot, VisitEngland, Guide Dogs UK and the Alzheimer’s Society. Case studies including pubs which have improved their accessibility are also included in the guidance, showcasing to others what can be done to improve their offer to disabled customers and the advantages of doing so.

The guide also includes tips and advice from charities on how pubs can cater to the whole community. On top of this, Government Disability Champion for the Tourism Sector, Chris Veitch, and Government Disability Champion for the design of ‘spaces & products’, Ed Warner, have also contributed forewords to the guidance.

To support the guidance, the BBPA has been working alongside Tourism For All to develop a training pack looking at the importance of having an open and accessible pub. This training focusses on the importance of the ‘Purple Pound’ for the pub trade, what the law says about providing service to customers with disabilities, and how staff can provide a high quality and welcoming service to all customers, regardless of their disability.

Emma McClarkin, BBPA's Chief Executive, said, “Pubs are rightly known for being the heart of their communities, bringing people together under one roof. The hospitality of the pub extends to people with disabilities too. As a sector, we must continue to be as inclusive as we can be and highlight the accessibility of our facilities and their improvements.

“Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. Ten million people in England and Wales have some form of disability, with spending power worth £249 billion annually when combined with their families.

“This new guide will help licensees understand how best to help disabled customers and ensure their venue is as welcoming as possible.”

Euan MacDonald, Co-founder of disabled access review website Euan’s Guide, said, “We’re hopeful that this free advice provided by the British Beer & Pub Association will help pubs across the country make the necessary changes to improve their accessibility. We encourage all pubs to ensure that they are providing detailed, honest and up to date information on their venue’s accessibility online. This will help reduce unnecessary hassle and can encourage more people to visit.”

Joel Young, Campaigns Officer at Guide Dogs, said, “With 19% of assistance dog owners that we surveyed highlighting that they had been refused access to pubs in the 12 months prior to April 2019, it is great to see the BBPA taking proactive steps to raise awareness of the access rights assistance dog owners have under the Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland).

'We urge all publicans to review their policy relating to access for people with assistance dogs and, to consider the different types of assistance dogs that may enter their establishment.”

The new guidance, titled “An Open Welcome: Making your pub more accessible for customers” is available for free on the British Beer & Pub Association website at: https://beerandpub.com/briefings/an-open-welcome/

An accessible version of the guidance is also available at: https://beerandpub.com/briefings/accessible-version-an-open-welcome/