What is Access-a-Ball? Why does it exist? Who has signed up? These are all answered in this blog post!
May Balls, June Events, Garden Parties and similar large-scale events can be an exciting part of the Cambridge student experience. However, when events do not consider accessibility from the outset, they often end up completely excluding disabled people, taking away our opportunity to experience something so quintessentially Cambridge. It’s because of this that Access-a-Ball was set up a few years ago by the Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign, alongside a previous Disabled Students’ Officer, and the May Ball Presidents Committee.
What is Access-a-Ball?
Access-a-Ball is a scheme for those planning large-scale events to ensure they are considering accessibility throughout their planning. It starts off with the event committee signing the Access-a-Ball Pledge which commits them to “integrate improving accessibility into all parts of the planning experience” and to accommodate specific access needs. Importantly, the pledge also requires them to be proactive in anticipating access needs. This could mean ensuring that the event is step free or has useable ramps, ensuring that there are quiet spaces, making sure that their website is accessible and much more.
How Does it Work?
After signing the Access-a-Ball Pledge, the event committee are required to appoint someone to be in charge of accessibility matters - often an Accessibility Officer. This person is required to complete the Disabled Students’ Campaign Accessibility Training and to complete specific Access-a-Ball training session which informs about how the scheme works and more specific accessibility considerations. Following on from this training, the Accessibility Officer, alongside the rest of their committee, will ensure that accessibility is considered continually. At the end of the scheme, the event committee will submit evidence of how well accessibility was incorporated and will be graded on this. The event could then receive a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum award to display!
Who has signed up for 2022/23?
We have 15 sign-ups to Access-a-Ball for 2022/23! So far, the following events have signed up:
- Clare May Event
- Corpus May Ball
- Downing May Ball
- Emmanuel May Week Event
- Girton Spring Ball
- Homerton College MayBall
- Jesus College May Ball
- King's Affair
- Magdalene May Ball
- Murray Edwards Garden Party
- Pembroke May Ball
- Sidney Sussex June Event
- St. John's College May Ball
- Trinity Hall June Event
- Trinity May Ball
Congratulations to the 2021/22 Award Winners!
Several events also took part in the scheme last year and many won awards!
Congratulations to the Platinum Award winners which were Clare Garden Party, Downing May Ball, King's Affair, and Murray Edwards Garden Party!
Also, congratulations to our Gold Award winners which were Corpus Christi May Ball and Sidney Sussex May Ball.
More information on Access-a-Ball and other projects can be found on the Disabled Students' Campaign website.