BBPA releases guidance for pubs on catering for customers with access needs

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Revealed: (L-R) Fuller Smith & Turner corporate affairs director Richard Fuller, Lord Holmes of Richmond, BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds and Lord Shinkwin attended the guide’s release.
Revealed: (L-R) Fuller Smith & Turner corporate affairs director Richard Fuller, Lord Holmes of Richmond, BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds and Lord Shinkwin attended the guide’s release.

Related tags: Disability

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has published updated guidance in a bid to help licensees ensure their pubs are welcoming to customers with access needs.

The new guidance was launched by the BBPA in partnership with VisitEngland, Tourism For All, DisabledGo.com, charity Changing Faces and Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds thanked the organisations involved which helped produce the guide along with BBPA members who provided case studies.

She said: “Pubs are rightly famous for their warm welcome and excellent service.

“People with health conditions and their companions spend about £12bn annually on tourism in England and this guide should help licensees understand how best to help customers and ensure venues are as welcoming as possible.”

As accessible as possible

Pubs are for everyone – why being accessible is important​ is a follow up to 2012’s guide,  An open welcome – why being accessible is good for your pub.

It highlights various steps operators can take to ensure they are as accessible as possible, including access ramps at the door, hearing loops on the bar, and large print menus.

The guide also stresses the importance of staff training, so pubs can meet the needs of disabled customers and so the team can safely operate any access-related equipment alongside a host of new case studies from Fuller’s and Enterprise Inns.

Grey-Thompson welcomed the guide as a “positive step in promoting access for all”.

She said: “Having just witnessed yet another successful Paralympics, there is no better time to champion accessibility and no better place to do so than in the home of hospitality – the great British pub.

“Accessibility is not simply about physical access to the pub, but rather it is about creating the best experience for all who visit and encouraging visitors to return."

Positive step in promoting access for all

She added: “The guidance is a positive step in promoting access for all. Let’s embrace the legacy of the Paralympics and ensure that equality and accessibility remain key themes for the future.”

Paralympic tennis star Jordanne Whiley said it was important for pubs to be fully accessible for disabled people.

She added: “Pubs are social places to meet, drink and eat with friends and colleagues so you can imagine the frustration when someone who is disabled has trouble getting in.

“I see pubs as a big part of British culture so nobody, whether it be a local or a tourist, should be denied access.”

Last year, a House of Lords committee released a report stating pubs that don’t provide facilities for disabled people should be shut down​.

The report argued local authorities should be allowed to refuse to grant or renew premises’ licences for breaching the Equality Act after finding many pubs and restaurants were failing to provide basic facilities such as disabled toilets and were difficult to access.

Related topics: Health & safety

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