Guidance Practical help Access Panels - Scotland Keen to make your activities more accessible but need some guidance? Your local Access Panel could offer the help you need! In the day-to-day running of your group, it’s important to consider any barriers which may be preventing people from engaging with your activities as fully as possible. Taking measures to remove these barriers and broaden your understanding of disability and access can be a great advantage to your voluntary arts group, demonstrating a 'can do' attitude that can encourage more people to join you. Speaking to someone that has a knowledge and understanding of a wide range of disabilities, including common barriers to participation can be really worthwhile and your local Access Panel could be a great place to start. What could you learn from your local Access Panel? There are 41 Access Panels across Scotland, one in each local authority and nine in the Highlands. While each Access Panel operates slightly differently, the fundamentals remain the same – Panels are made up of groups of volunteers, including disabled people, who work together to improve physical access and wider social inclusion in their local communities. Panels are pan-disability, working to achieve not only physical access to activities and places, but access to employment education health and transport. So whether you’re planning a public event, considering moving to a new venue or putting on a show - contacting your local Access Panel is a great way to get advice on how to make your activities more welcoming to those with access requirements. The umbrella body for Access Panels in Scotland is the Scottish Disability Equality Forum (SDEF), which offers support, funding and training opportunities to help Access Panels operate more efficiently, link together as a network and learn from each other. To find your local Access Panel, search the SDEF directory. Free resources from Voluntary Arts Download our free information Briefing ‘Events checklist – disability and access’ for more information and advice on how to make your events and activities more accessible.