Making your CU accessible - wheelchair users
You may be restricted in your choice of venue. But if you want to be fully inclusive, ask your SU to help allocate an accessible venue for your meetings – they should be committed to improving access and diversity.
Many wheelchair users have learned to be adaptable and to overcome obstacles with good humour. But with the best will in the world, if a venue doesn’t have level access, they can’t get in. But once enabled to belong to your CU, many wheelchair users will be enthusiastic about using their talents to serve and help in what you are doing.
- All internal and external areas need level or ramped access. Some people with limited mobility find ramps difficult to negotiate.
- Ensure that wheelchair users can sit where they want and with their friends – don’t allocate them a space out of the way; they have the same right to choose as the rest of us.
- If using a projector and screen for worship, remember screens can be hidden by people standing, so provide printed copies of any songs or presentations for all those who remain seated.
- When talking to a wheelchair user sit down as well, making eye contact easier.
- Even if you are a CU that is committed to praying for healing, don’t do so without the person’s permission. Many wheelchair users have been given the impression that Christians think they’re not acceptable the way they are, and Jesus never made anyone feel like that.
- If access issues make it difficult for a wheelchair user to attend small group meetings, why not hold one in their flat or room? You could make them the group leader – they might turn out to be great at offering hospitality or leading Bible studies.
- Don’t assume anything, always ask.
This resource is part of our Accessible CU series, created especially for Christian Unions by Through The Roof, a Christian Disability charity. To read this article in full, and other articles on including disabled students, download the student version of Through the Roof's publication Be a Roofbreaker for just £3.