IM this article to a friend!

October 23, 2002

UK’s tourist attractions fail to reach out to deaf people

From: Leisure Opportunities Daily News, UK
Oct. 23, 2002

Lord Puttnam is backing an RNID campaign for improved access to arts and culture for the deaf and hard of hearing.

RNID has released new research which found that the majority of museums, arts venues, theatres, cinemas and tourist attractions across the UK effectively exclude Britain’s nine million deaf and hard of hearing people because of ‘ineffective’ access policies or untrained staff.

The findings were announced at the charity’s annual conference ‘Breaking Sound Barrier’, held in October.

The Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle, two of the UK’s top tourist sites, are among those named and shamed as the worst culprits, criticised for failing to provide adequate facilities and support for people with a level of hearing loss.

In a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise, RNID visited over 100 top attractions across the UK and found that half of the sites visited did not have a loop or infrared system available; three quarters of the venues did not have a loop logo visible; three out of our of the attractions surveyed did not have a textphone service for their deaf customers to contact them and nearly two thirds of the attractions did not have published information available for deaf or hard of hearing people.

However, RNID’s research also revealed examples of good practice at for example London’s Tate Modern and Manchester United FC’s Museum & Tour.

Brian Lamb, RNID’s communications director said: “Many institutions are only paying lip service to their duties to provide equal access to deaf and hard of hearing people. We urge the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to encourage the industry to put these policies into practice, so that deaf and hard of hearing people can participate fully in our national cultural life.”

Lord Puttnam highlighted the affordability of making venues accessible: “New and developing technology means that full access to culture and the arts can be provided at low cost in theatres, cinemas, museums and art galleries to millions of deaf and hard of hearing people in this country.” Details +44 (0)808 8080123/(0)808 8089000(t) or visit

© The Leisure Media Co Ltd