Make your community more inclusive

Think, Ask, Include: Read our top tips on how you can help make the community more welcoming for disabled people.

Have you ever thought about how disability friendly your local cafes, shops and community centres are? 

There's over 14 million disabled people in the UK, and many feel cut off from their local communities as they're not easy to navigate.

You can play your part and Think, Ask, Include to make sure disabled people can get involved in your community. Watch the video and read our top tips below.

Think, Ask, Include to make sure no one is left out of your community

Purple line drawing of three figures with lines linking them together

1. Clear communication is key

Speaking directly to the person, and not their support worker, carer or guide, is key to making people feel included.

To help people with hearing impairments or who need to lip read, try to speak clearly, and if you can, make sure people can see your lips.

It's great to have large print and braille versions of any information, like menus, you're giving out. Some people, who are unable to read, also find it handy to use pictures.

Want to learn a new skill? You could even learn some basic British Sign Language – there are millions of people in the UK who are Deaf or hard of hearing, and many use sign language.

"If I'm going to a café or restaurant, a large print or braille menu would be extremely helpful. Staff asking me what my accessibility needs might be would go a long way too."

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2. Are the spaces in your community easy to navigate?

Have a think about how you can make it easier for people to find their way around the building or space you’re using or visiting.

Is there enough room between furniture for a wheelchair user, or are there tables and chairs, or other obstacles, blocking the pavement outside? 

If you work in a space, think about the signs you use to display information. Is the information easy to read and see? And make sure it’s clear where the toilets are!

Another good tip is to add the accessibility information to your website, so people can find out more before they visit .

"I find it hard to get around places and if there's not enough space I can trip up. More walking space would really help."

Line drawing of purple lightbulb

3. Think about lighting

While many of us might think mood lighting can create a good atmosphere, a well-lit space works best for people with visual impairments. Dark spaces can make it difficult to read signs or information.

Try to make sure there’s plenty of daylight and think about adding lamps or reducing glare to make it easier for people to find their way around.

"Small changes can make a big difference."

Line drawing of a purple megaphone

4. Watch the volume

Are you playing music? Some people can be sensitive to loud noise – in fact, it’s a common symptom of autism, and can cause pain. Try to keep music turned down and keep an eye on the background noise in your space.

To make sure people using hearing impairments can be involved in the conversation, set your space up for induction loops, which hook up to people’s hearing aids.

"Having music turned down just a little bit can make me feel a lot more welcome."

Purple line drawing with of person thinking

5. Educate yourself

Over a third of disabled people told us that greater awareness and understanding from the public would help them feel connected with their community.

Stigma and lack of understanding often leads to disabled people feeling left out or isolated.

Challenging your own perceptions and having a conversation – with your friends, family, neighbours or children – to raise awareness about disability and loneliness can really help.

There are everyday actions we can take to help make life a little more inclusive for disabled people. 

"Reach out and learn what disabled people think and need to feel more welcome and included."