Gama Access Areas CIC is an established and specialist Community Interest Company providing accessible camping areas and on site facilities to support people with disabilities & special needs, along with their families and carers at festivals and outdoor events. The Disabled Discrimination Act lays down a statutory responsibility to organisers to make “reasonable adjustments” so that any festival/outdoor gathering must now consider not just the provision of an area for people with disabilities to camp in, but accessibility for everyone over the entire site.
Gama works with festival organisers to ensure that proper facilities and services for people with disabilities are provided. We also work with festival goers and the festival media to promote our activities and campaign for continual improvements for the public to festivals. We hope to raise awareness of the issues, and support “equal access for all”. We can provide a range of services to festival goers:
For any festival we are working with, we set up a direct email or phone link between their website, their ticket office or their administration office, and ourselves. This enables any person with disabilities who may be considering buying a ticket or coming to the festival to have a personal conversation with one of the Gama Access Areas CIC team. This means that you can talk through what your specific needs may be, how they will be covered on site; and any to discuss any other queries or questions you may have.
Most festivals now have a policy of allowing for one free carer ticket alongside either the middle or higher rate DLA on another ticket. Some festivals have their own variations on this, and if more advice is needed or you have any queries about the festival policy, we can intervene and negotiate on your behalf.
Meet and Greet
We sometimes provide a “meet and greet” service for people arriving on site – this can cover a direct route for wristband exchanging to save standing in long queues, and aid with getting festival goers and their equipment to the accessible camping area. We also often negotiate a dedicated car parking area for blue badge holders.
Gama Access Areas CIC provides an accessible camping area – a welcoming, safe, informal, inclusive area with the basic facilities of information, wide access toilets and usually power points for charging wheelchair batteries. The area may have more that this – wide access showers, an activity marquee, etc. The area is stewarded by our Gama volunteers. All Gama facilities can be used by everyone on site who needs them, there is no requisite for you to camp specifically in the Gama area.
We are often asked to maintain a register of all those wishing to camp in the Gama Access Areas. This enables us to know how many people we are expecting, thus provide enough room for them; and also to know what equipment and facilities to provide.
Site wide provision
We check on and support the site wide provision for disabled people. We do an on site audit and list those cafes and venues who can provide a socket for wheelchair charging whilst you are with them. We note where the wide access toilets are and keep an eye on their hygiene. We note where the good seats are for those with mobility problems. We staff the viewing platforms at peak times to ensure that those that need to be on there can get a space. We provide site maps that can show the hard trackways, or any paths that make for easier access around site.
Gama support staff
Our Gama support staff are all trained and experienced. We can work with all ages and abilities and we will help with the basics of camping at a festival – helping you to find the right pitch for you, help to put up tents, and provide general information and care of the camping area. We are bound by any fire regulations and Health and Safety concerns. We do not provide personal care or childcare. We expect you to have that within your own carers and friends ticketing.
At the end of each festival we ask our visitors to complete feedback forms – this enables us to collate information directly from you and feed it back to the festival organisers. Improvements suggested can then be forwarded to the following year’s event.
Our own website
Gama Access Areas CIC has its own website. www.gama-uk.com. The website provides a space for Gama updates, reviews of each festival we are involved with, any relevant interesting or funny stories and tales from festival goers, and act as a campaigning force to improve access arrangements at festivals. This also allows us to have a year-round on-line community via a forum and direct email link to Gama Access Areas staff.
Gama Access Areas CIC will be aware of the law and promote best practice. We will support festival goers to get the best facilities possible, and liaise with festivals over specific issues when necessary. We hope to work to continually improve disabled facilities at festivals.
We are in regular contact with other festival websites to promote our ideals and views. We will support festivals who take access issues on board.
We have green/environmentally aware standards and guidelines that we work within. We encourage our campers to bring what they need/recycle/clear up after themselves. We believe in always leaving a spotless Gama Access Area at the end of any festival.
Standards, Experience & the Future
We aim to provide through this website all the information necessary to help those with disabilities make informed decisions about what festivals they choose to go to, and what they should expect to find when they get there. We aim to provide a discussion forum and information exchange, a training section, a campaigning branch, and an on-line community and regular updates as to what is happening for disabled people in the UK festival scene.