Liverpool Philharmonic has been awarded Gold by Attitude is everything, one of only nine music venues nationally to have achieved the highest standard.
Attitude is Everything aims to improve access to live music at venues and festivals for deaf and disabled people, so that they can be as independent as they want to be at live music events. They work in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to achieve this.
Liverpool Philharmonic has been involved with Attitude is Everything for eight years and had achieved Bronze ahead of the £14.5M refurbishment of the 1939, Grade II*listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which was completed in autumn 2015. The Hall is the home of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and one of the UK’s premier arts and entertainment venues.
The refurbishment included the building of a new, smaller scale venue, Music Room, and significant improvements to front of house areas and facilities for all visitors and participants. It included the installation of a new lift providing access to all levels of the main Hall for the first time, improved accessibility in all parts of the auditorium (including transfer seating for wheelchair users), and the installation of a new Changing Places toilet facility.
In order to achieve Gold status, Liverpool Philharmonic has implemented additional improvements to its facilities and working practices including:
Introduction for the first time in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2018-2019 concert season, Relaxed and Dementia-Friendly Concerts. Orientation visits, consideration of lighting levels at these concerts, a British Sign Language interpreter and additional stewards to welcome customers are part of the resources introduced to ensure that customers enjoy the best experience on their visit for these concerts.
Liverpool Philharmonic has an Access Scheme which customers with access needs are encouraged to join to ensure a smoother booking process. Members of the scheme can obtain refunds or credit notes on tickets if they are unable to attend an event due to illness.
An Access Map and a set of common walking routes, complemented by a short film shows visitors what to expect when they arrive at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for a concert (coming soon).
Following advice from Liverpool Mencap, there will be more provision of easy read format materials on selected events. Liverpool Philharmonic currently offers the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert programmes and season brochure in large print format. These are also available on www.liverpoolphil.com.
An accessible service point has been installed in the Hall’s foyer for the sale of tickets and merchandise such as concert programmes. Customers with access needs will be offered table service if they require refreshments.
Respite spaces for those who need it are available on both the ground floor, and upper level, which is accessible by lift.
Customer-facing staff have received training on how to support visitors with visual impairment. Further training on autism awareness is set to take place over the summer.
Consultation with focus groups of customers with access needs and those with dementia and their carers will take place annually so that Liverpool Philharmonic can continually review and improve customer service, facilities and support.
Suzanne Bull MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Attitude is Everything said:‘We are delighted to have awarded Liverpool Philharmonic the Gold award via our Charter of Best Practice, having worked together for the last 8 years. The refurbishment of the Hall makes Liverpool Philharmonic a wonderful resource for local Deaf and disabled audiences and visitors to Liverpool.
‘It is also fantastic to see Liverpool Philharmonic make great strides in accessible and inclusive information provision, partnering with local disability organisations to welcome diverse audiences. We look forward to seeing what they do next!’
Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of Liverpool Philharmonic said:‘We are proud to have secured Gold status, one of only nine music venues nationally, of which three are in the North, to have achieved this highest standard. Like Attitude is Everything, we believe music is for everyone, and we want to make sure we welcome diverse audiences and artists through our doors to perform, participate in and enjoy music and music-making of the highest quality.
‘We are grateful to Attitude is Everything for their support in helping us to better understand Deaf and disabled people’s access requirements in our venues at both front and back front of house. Their guidance in introducing improvements across our business to improve our welcome and service for these customers has been invaluable, and it is something that we will continue work on.’