Part of our recent age-friendly work has included launching a toolkit for local businesses which has included top tips as well as local case studies of organisations already working hard to become age-friendly.
"We want Bristol Music Trust to offer welcoming spaces and activities for all, and have an eclectic range of events – over 600 per year – which we are keen to ensure are open to everyone regardless of age, race, or gender. Adopting the Family Arts Campaign, Age-Friendly Standards was one of the ways of letting people know that we are aware of older people’s needs. We are also part of Bristol Accessible Venues Group, and through this have done a lot of work to support customers with dementia. All of our customer-facing staff are Dementia Friends, so that anyone living with dementia is given the right level of assistance and feels safe and comfortable when they visit our music venues.
It’s really important to be as comprehensive as possible when it comes to physical accessibility. We work very hard to ensure our venue is accessible to everyone, and offer disability awareness training to all staff which has included simple real-life scenarios such as pushing a wheelchair over different surfaces. As we look to redesign the signage of the hall, we will be referencing latest research and development, for example the University of Edinburgh’s recent research on signage which gives great insight into inclusive design.
Our Creative Learning and Engagement programme uses the power of music to transform the lives of people of all ages. We focus on making the experience of both creating and listening to music accessible to a wider audience – from using digital innovation to create disabilityfriendly instruments to working with Bristol City Council to deliver music sessions in the city’s sheltered housing residences.
At the time of writing this, we are working on the refurbishment and re-launch of what is currently Colston Hall. We’re consulting with Bristolians about what their priorities are for the venue, and older people are an important voice in that conversation, not least because many of them have a great deal of memories attached to the space. We’ve been consulting online and through focus groups, and have also taken a stall to community centres across the city to capture as many views as possible to shape our vision of the hall’s future. We also want to firmly position the hall as a community space; it’s not just somewhere that people visit a couple of times a year for a concert, but somewhere they catch up with friends over a cup of tea or can come to and learn something new."