The coronation of Charles III and Queen consort, Camilla is taking place on Saturday 6th May 2023, at Westminster Abbey.
Learning Disability England was invited to attend an accessibility expert panel ahead of the coronation.
Wendy Burt, member of Learning Disability England and former member of the rep body attended as representative.
She has written a blog about her experience.
I was initially very excited to be asked by LDE to represent members on the expert accessibility panel for the kings coronation, I couldn’t attend the first meeting as I was unwell with covid.
I was then invited along with the other panel members to an in person meeting in London (near horse guards parade) I did manage to attend even though the meeting time was very inaccessible to me as a family carer. Having to be at the meeting for 9.30am in the morning meant a very early start for me and organising support for my sons to make sure they were up and ready for their day as I wasn’t there. When we were taken to the room for the meeting it had a very high glass roof, again not accessible for someone like me who wears hearing aids.
However, despite the disappointing start I was really pleased to hear that at the first meeting there had been lots of discussion around accessibility not just limited to those with mobility needs. The discussions had covered all areas of need including that of having easy read coronation information available including a social story about what to expect if you were planning to come up to London on the day of the coronation. I knew this would be really helpful for many members of learning disability England.
We have now had our last meeting of the panel and not all of our recommendations were put in place but some were. I think the most pleasing to me which takes into account the members of LDE are:
- There will be an accessible viewing area in the Mall to watch the coronation procession and people with a learning disability and or autism who may find crowds difficult will be able to access this area as well as those with mobility or communication needs.
- There are a number of areas where there will be big screens to view the coronation, each of these areas will have an accessible area, part of this will include a quiet space for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed or in need of some space and it will include a sensory area and ear defenders among other things.
- There will be a social story going onto the coronation website to help people who are planning on coming into London, but as of today it isn’t yet available on the website ☹ I have explained to them time is of the essence!
- There will be a number of changing place facilities; one in each accessible viewing area where the big screens are and one near the accessible viewing area in the Mall.
What didn’t happen – there is no easy read information about the coronation on the official website, this is very disappointing as it was suggested at the very first meeting.
Here you can view more detailed information and see the maps of where the accessible areas are visit:
To sum up my experience it was wonderful that through LDE the needs of people with a learning disability were part of the accessibility panels discussions but disappointing that at the end of the day they were not fully addressed. Easy read information should have been the very least that was produced. We still have a way to go when it comes to making things accessible for everyone.
Information and Resources
United Response has made an Easy News update all about the coronation.
It has lots of information about what the coronation is and what the celebrations will involve.
Active Prospects have produced this accessible version of the coronation timetable.