The Accessible Edinburgh Festivals Award 2018!

Photo of Euan and Paul presenting an award to Lyndsey McLean.

The Euan’s Guide team and Ambassadors have been enjoying Edinburgh’s festivals this year, and we’re delighted to announce the winners of the Accessible Edinburgh Festivals Award 2018! The awards celebrate the accessibility and inclusivity of venues associated with Edinburgh’s major festivals, and the categories this year were ‘Best Venue’, ‘Best Pop-up Venue’ and the highly regarded ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ award.

Best Venue

Photo of Euan and Paul with EICC team members.

Hosting events across various festivals including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has won the Best Venue category in this year’s awards!

Marshall Dallas, Chief Executive of the EICC said, “"Euan's Guide is one of the very finest examples of how impactful social enterprises can be, it is also one of the most forward looking organisations in Scotland and this award is a massive privilege for myself and the team. It is it really important to us that everyone attending events at the EICC has an equally enjoyable and fulfilling experience, regardless of disabilities. To that end, our whole team has undergone disability awareness training, under guidance from Euan's Guide.

We hosted the Rehabilitation International World Congress in 2016, and we still remember not only what a great event it was but also the very memorable and powerful address from Euan MacDonald. Our vision at the EICC is to create an environment that inspires ideas which change the world, and we constantly strive to be one of the most socially-responsible conference venues worldwide. We have the utmost respect for the change that Euan, his sister Kiki and the rest of the Euan's Guide team are making in this country and further afield."

Best Pop-up Venue

Photo of Euan and Paul with Book Festival staff.

Celebrating their third consecutive win, the Edinburgh International Book Festival impressed us with its new Changing Places toilet, higher number of signed and captioned performances, and their invisibility disability badge scheme.

Sophie Moxon, Executive Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival said, “We aim to make the Book Festival inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all our visitors, and are continually looking to improve not only what we offer, but also the way we communicate this. We are thrilled that Euan’s Guide has recognised the changes we have made this year. Thanks to the support of Players of People’s Postcode Lottery we are now able to offer our visitors a Changing Places Toilet, events in the programme for adults and children with Learning Disabilities and more BSL interpreted and close captioned events. We have also developed an access guide in print and online to assist new visitors to ensure that everyone has the best possible experience at the Book Festival.”

Spirit of Inclusion Award

Photo of Euan and Paul with the Fringe Society.

We were delighted with the efforts made by the Fringe Society this year to improve access to the world’s largest arts festival. We were particularly impressed by the Fringe volunteers, adoption of the Welcome App at Box Offices, accessible viewing spaces at street performances, sensory backpacks and the behind the scenes work that has been done with live music charity Attitude is Everything. The return of the pop-up Changing Places loo also contributed to the Fringe Society being awarded the Spirit of Inclusion award this year!

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said, “Removing barriers to attending the Fringe, so that anyone who wants to take part in this amazing festival can, is a key priority for the Fringe Society. We are thrilled to receive the Spirit of Inclusion Award from Euan’s Guide for the initiatives we have introduced to improve accessibility at the Fringe. Over the last two years, 33 Fringe venues have completed our Venue Access Award, developed in partnership with the charity Attitude is Everything. The award provides venues with a minimum standard of accessibility to aim for and offers different levels of achievement. In 2018, we placed accessibility at the heart of the redevelopment of the Virgin Money Street Events, introducing dedicated viewing areas for those with access needs, fully accessible stages, BSL interpreted performances, and sensory backpacks for children and adults on the autism spectrum. While there is always more work to be done to make the Fringe as accessible as possible, it’s an honour to be recognised by Euan’s Guide for the work that we have done to date.”

Paul Ralph, Access and Inclusion Director at Euan’s Guide said, “Once again it is great to see Edinburgh’s Festivals raise the bar on their welcome for disabled people, their friends and families. Particularly exciting this summer has been the focus on invisible impairments and initiatives like the Book Festival’s badges for folk requiring a little extra help, the amazing sensory backpacks from the Fringe Society and the Easy Read publications.

On the access front it was exceptional to see both the Fringe Society and Book Festival provide Changing Places Toilets making such a difference to so many people and families.

My favourite ‘discovery’ this year has to be the magic carpets at the street performances. A simple yet fabulous way to provide dedicated viewing spots for wheelchair users and others who might not otherwise see the street performances.”

What has impressed you most about Edinburgh’s festivals this year?

Tell us your stories and share your access reviews of festival venues! We want to hear about the good, the funny, the not so good and the magical moments you’ve experienced this year. Write a review.


Locations: Edinburgh

Tags: festivals


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