Eleven May Ball and June Event committees have already signed the Access-a-Ball pledgeLouis ashworth

Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign and the May Ball Presidents’ Committee have announced Access-a-Ball, a new scheme which is attempting to make large-scale May Week events more accessible to guests, so they can ‘reach even more people and make all their guests feel welcome.’

Each May Ball President who wishes to take part in the scheme must sign the “Access-a-Ball” pledge, in which they promise to ‘integrate improving accessibility into all parts of the planning experience such that as many people are able to enjoy the event as possible.’

Presidents must ‘provide for the access needs that we can anticipate, as guided by the Access-a-ball workbook.’

The scheme has already had eleven signatories including from May Ball committees at Darwin, Downing, Emmanuel, Homerton, Robinson and Pembroke.

Other signatories include June Event committees from Trinity Hall and Sidney Sussex, as well as The King’s Affair and Murray Edwards College Garden Party.

Several committees have not signed up yet, including Jesus College and St John’s College.

A representative from the Cambridge SU Disabled Students’ Campaign told Varsity: “We’re really excited to begin this scheme, which will see us deliver training specific to May Ball events, give guidance and keep track of how the committees are getting on.”

“For many events, this is the first time accessibility has really been considered seriously, and we hope to make it a permanent feature!”

The pledge further outlines that ‘[w]hen an unanticipated access need or a specific request is raised, [the Committee] will do everything [they] can to accommodate and make that person feel welcome, getting advice from DSC if unsure how to proceed.’

It concludes: ’[the President] will allocate a role on the committee that is fully or partially dedicated to the Accessibility of the Event, and the individual fulfilling this role will attend an ‘Introduction to Event Accessibility’ meeting held by ‘Access-a-Ball’.’

Speaking to Varsity, a member of Access-a-Ball Cambridge said: “Our aim is to help May Balls and June Events become accessible to a wider group of students by providing balls with detailed ball-specific guidance throughout the year.”

“Events who sign the pledge will have access to our workbook, a detailed spreadsheet listing tasks that they can implement to accommodate more access needs; at the end of the year, they will receive an award based on how many tasks they achieved. Additionally, we will be encouraging events to better communicate what access measures will be in place, so that people can make an informed decision on whether or not to buy a ticket.”


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“Over the past few years, the Sustain-a-Ball campaign has been very successful at helping May Week become more sustainable; we’re very optimistic that the Access-a-Ball scheme can be as effective!”

The event committee will also need to follow the specific guidelines outlined in the scheme’s Workbook.

Prior to the opening of ticket sales, a ‘preliminary access statement’ will need to be published by the committee, followed by a ‘full access statement’ before the end of ticket sales.

After the event has taken place, evidence will need to be submitted to show which guidelines were met. All of the events which take part in the scheme will be marked and awarded accordingly.