Wed 19 Feb 2020 12:02PM

Access requirements for a fulltime (non-ambulant) wheelchair user

KH Kay Holford Public Seen by 97

A longtime Burner is attending Nest 20 for the first time, and uses his powerchair full time. This will require specific access considerations. Kay happy to lead on this?


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 12:05PM

So, I'm in conversation already with R to ascertain what his specific needs are. Almost certainly though, we will need to have a full size changing/ hoist bathroom, which we haven't had previously. At this stage, this is the biggest consideration, but trackways/ some sort of ramped 4x4 vehicle to enable R to access most parts of the site will also be a priority.


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 12:07PM

ahaha my apologies! I mean myself, Kay H :)


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 12:21PM

tagging access folks: @Iona Steen @Yon @Claire McAllen @Clint for visibility only


Phoenix Wed 19 Feb 2020 1:18PM

Last year having the first access area showed just how many people with disabilities will come to a burn with the right facilities in place.

Having a flat space large enough for everyone's needs is important. What is just as important is to make sure that each person's requirements are considered and that those with what may seem like lesser needs are not sidelined because their situation seems less important. All access needs large and small need to be made possible.

Also it is really important that there are toilets for disabilities at all the toilet banks. There need to be at least as many places for those with disabilities as with the able bodied participants. Given that people are tied by the distance they can travel and the urgency with which some conditions cause the need for a toilet.

It also needs to be clear that people respect the toilets so that disabled participants can use them when needed.

I think it is also important that camps are considering access needs before they design their art or camps.


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 2:55PM

regarding camps, yes, we made a start on this last year with repositioning Crumpet, due to access issues. Essentially, camps need to be (as far as is practicable):

  • flat

  • near a trackway or proper path

  • well-lit

  • preferably with a power point for ongoing wheelchair charging

  • with a radio for any Burner to be able to call for pickup as/ when (unless we issue a radio to each person with additional needs, which would probably be easier)

  • arrange their interior to have, eg, wide gangways, no clutter, no trailing cables

In terms of art projects, the difficulty is that some artists will want an 'off the beaten track' placement. I'm not sure what a solution could be at this stage.

Also, this seems like a sensible place to put this: I've applied already for an Arts Grant for each Camp to take responsibility for a bench, which will be constructed on site, and decorated by each camp. I don't know the outcome of the application yet, but this certainly would be helpful for this discussion.


Phoenix Wed 19 Feb 2020 11:08PM

At all the burns I have attended I have missed the art at remote places because I couldn't access them. Civic responsibility means following the laws of the land and in the UK that means adhering to the laws on disability discrimination.

I am fed up with people using radical self expression to justify either thoughtlessness of people with disabilities needs or down right ablism. This festival has ignored those laws to many times.

Last year, after arguing it for three years there was finally an access camping area and this showed the significant increase in those attending which shows that we were excluding people by not providing infrastructure for people with disabilities.

Cost is not a good enough excuse, so if people want to have a remote location they also need to put a plan in place on how they are going to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.

There also needs to be training or in place so that those in charge are not breaking the law in response to situations that arise during the event. At best last year I was told I was jealous of the attention Clem was getting when I pointed out that the solution of moving his tent took away the area I needed to be able to get out of my tent with my disabilities. I was ignored and I ended up in hospital when I left and subsequently ended up back in a wheel chair.

At microburn I was forced to use toilets with steps and told to find random people and ask them if they would help me to the toilet. Both of the situation break the laws on discrimination of a person with a disability.

The principles of burning do not overule the laws of the land and in the UK we have clear rules which mean that even if you want radical self expression you still need to make sure you consider accessibility.

Last year someone argued that because of the site it is impossible to be accessible so people with disabilities shouldn't come if they can't be radically self reliant. This is putting the responsibility on the person with the disability which is discrimination and exclusionary.


Case Thu 20 Feb 2020 10:08AM

With regards to the accessible camping, it felt rather cramped last year. It would be sensible to reduce the number of theme camps allocated to that flat area (last year it was Desanka, Costume camp (who moved because they were never going to fit), Shamanarama Cafe, Ishtar (who didn't attend), Antiquarian Speakeasy, Panravia and Loose Leaf Cuddle Infuser. This left a small area for accessible camping).

Totally agree with the need for an accessible toilet in the middle toilet block and exploring solutions for mobility on the site.


Kay Holford Thu 20 Feb 2020 11:01AM

good points, well made


Kay Holford Thu 20 Feb 2020 11:02AM

yes, I think there does need to be a balance between cluttering that flat space with theme camps and allowing accessible camping area. I guess the person to speak to about this would be someone from DPW, or site planning?


Kay Holford Thu 20 Feb 2020 11:03AM

sadly, because of the protected nature of the site (a SSSI if i remember) prevents most sorts of trackway being laid, like you would see at a mainstream festival.


Phoenix Wed 19 Feb 2020 1:22PM

Also we might need a place (waterproof) for the chair to be plugged in overnight for power.

I think there needs to be a conversation about carers and how many each person needs to make sure there is also space for them. Some people will need more than one carer


Phoenix Wed 19 Feb 2020 1:26PM

Last year there was supposed to be a vehicle that was supposed to be available at certain times to take people to the temple, quite often this didn't run.

Perhaps this needs to be rethought in that we create a volunteer team to do scheduled runs or pick ups through rangers


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 2:46PM

Yes, my initial thoughts on this is that we (nest vols) organise a dedicated radio to be issued to people with mobility requirements, and a 24/7 on call 4x4 buggy with a roll-on/ roll-off ramp to be used purely for the purposes of getting those folks to wherever they want and need to be. And I absolutely agree: build the infrastricture, and people will come. I'm personally invested in this because I've previously been a wheelchair user, and although my mobility is now greatly improved, I can 100% see the benefits of setting a sterling example of access at Burns


Ax Fri 28 Feb 2020 6:24PM

There was a vague idea I heard last year about having a rickshaw* operated by whomever was willing to provide access to remote parts of site to those wouldn’t otherwise be able.


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 2:50PM

So from a cost perspective, I know this is likely going to present a challenge. However, as far as I am concerned, this is a non-negotiable part of Burn principles. I'm not experienced in costing, who would I need to speak to about allocation of funds for things such as a golf buggy / 4x4 rental and a hoist bathroom hire?

I can probably find out who provided the cabin/ hoist for the XR demos at Marble Arch, which were very well suited imo


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 3:04PM

This is the ramped golf buggy I have seen used at mainstream festivals: https://eventbuggyhire.co.uk/6-seat-petrol-disabled-access-buggy/


Kay Holford Wed 19 Feb 2020 3:42PM

I've invited R to directly contribute, but as a direct summary:

  • they need a spacious access portaloo with turning space for their powerchair and not cluttered by, eg, a menstrual station or stacks of loo roll

  • they need some way to traverse the more inaccessible parts of site, and my suggestion at this point is a 24/7 radio summon for a 4x4 buggy with a wheelchair ramp or similar

  • they are happy for a basic shower set up such as a hose-down, but will need a plastic chair with arms to transfer into

  • they are yet to choose a Theme Camp, but I've shared the Site Map showing the flat areas around Welfare

  • They require a wheelchair charging point for overnight

  • They need a plan for travelling from London to site

  • They need to acquire a carer to assist in the morning and for regular food/ drink needs etc

  • They may need someone to bring their luggage/ tent/ bed etc from London to site beforehand (tbc)