News Story

A group of partners including us here at Cheltenham Festivals have just launched an exciting new resource that enables accessible and sustainable live events of all kinds, at a major meeting of the Local Authority Event Organisers Group in London.

The Accessibility & Sustainability Toolkit has been devised in a trail-blazing partnership between arts and events organisations including Cheltenham Festivals, Vision:2025, Attitude Everything and Cheltenham Borough Council.

The Toolkit offers a self-assessment tool to help events organisers of all sizes not just understand their accessibility and sustainability scores – but also how to improve them.

The Toolkit’s development has been led by Cheltenham Festivals’ Innovation Manager, Andrew Lansley.

“The Toolkit began with a very simple aim,” he explains: “to make live events better for everyone.”

Andrew is currently developing our own internal accessibility and sustainability processes and polices. As part of his wider work he has forged links with Vision:2025, a network of 500 event organisers focused on tackling climate change, and Attitude Is Everything, who connect disabled people with live event industries.

“The goal was to ensure the widest possible impact for the work,” Lansley emphasises. “Cheltenham Festivals saw the potential straight away, but never wanted it to stay limited only to them. Our philosophy is absolutely about sharing good practice.”

Cheltenham Borough Council became an early adopter of the project, and all partners plan to make the Toolkit available as an online tool to help events organisers across the UK – and the world –transform their events for the benefit of diverse populations and the planet.

And throughout 2023, Vision:2025 will work with a pilot group of local authorities across the UK to trial the code, to develop an understanding of how it can be implemented to best effect in practice.

“Cheltenham Festivals is committed to widening participation in and access to the arts both now and in the future,” says Ali Mawle, co-CEO of Cheltenham Festivals. “Accessibility and sustainability are at the heart of that. We hope that the DATE toolkit will enable us as a cultural sector to make significant strides towards meeting mutual commitments to our communities and environments.”

Lansley agrees: “I love live events, and want them to be the best they can be. We know this work will help achieve this – it’s an exciting time.”