Creating an Accessible Environment

If a venue is accessible, it can really help to boost our self-confidence when entering new premises as a blind or partially sighted person. Even small adjustments to facilities can make a huge difference in supporting people with a visual impairment to access opportunities and to be more active.

The changes to the environment are often simple and inexpensive to implement and could actually be of financial benefit as more of us who are visually impaired choose that facility to spend our money.

In the dropdown box below are some top tips that can help improve accessibility to your venue.

  • Top tips for leisure centre operators and gym owners
    • Ensure the circulation areas are clear of obstructions that could be hazardous to people who are blind or partially sighted.
    • Do not leave doors half open and be aware of head height restrictions.
    • Good lighting allows people to make the most of their remaining vision.
    • Good colour contrast is helpful. For example, dark objects against a pale background (and vice versa) are more visible.
    • Steps are less hazardous if clearly marked.
    • Correct and inclusive signage, inside and outside, helps with navigation.
    • Signage should be at eye level and sized to be easily understood by blind and partially sighted users.
    • There should be a good colour contrast between words and sign background.
    • Tactile signage (read by touch) can be beneficial to people with visual impairments.
    • Have an area or several areas available where a guide dog could lie quietly when their owner is engaged in physical activity.
    • Have a bowl of water available to the guide dog.
    • Identify or create a suitable dog “spending area” which is easily accessible outside the venue.
    • Consider the noise levels in the workout areas and take into consideration the volume of the background music.

Additional Resources

To help designers, building owners and operators meet their design and operational obligations, Sport England have produced guidance on accessible sports facilities.

Sport England guidance

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