Two Historic Church Venues join the Charter of Best Practice

Posted on 13.05.2016

Two Historic Church Venues join the Charter of Best Practice

Union Chapel and the church of St John at Hackney have become the first church-based live music venues to join Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice. They have both been awarded the Bronze Level on the Charter for their commitment to improving access for Deaf and disabled music fans. 

To qualify for Charter status, live music venues and festivals must demonstrate exemplary access provision and an on-going commitment to improving accessibility - working with Attitude is Everything to go beyond the legal obligations set out in the Equality Act, to implement best practice, and to provide a fair and equal service to their Deaf and disabled customers.

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything, had this to say about the award:

"We are very excited to welcome Union Chapel and St John at Hackney on to our Charter of Best Practice. These iconic London destinations are the first church-based music venues to join the Charter, and they prove that with the right attitude, the access challenges presented by old buildings are far from insurmountable. We look forward to supporting St John's and Union Chapel to progress to higher levels of the charter, and hope that they are a shining example to other unconventional music venues looking to become more inclusive and accessible."

Union Chapel - Photo by Daniela Sbrisny

Union Chapel - Photo by Daniela Sbrisny

Union Chapel have been specifically recognised for:

  • Detailed picture route guides on their website
  • Providing large print information including bar menus

St John at Hackney - Photo by Mike Massaro

The Church of St John at Hackney - Photo by Mike Massaro

St John at Hackney have been specifically recognised for:

  • Improving toilet accessibility
  • Providing viewing platforms / areas
  • Ensuring staff are well trained

Katharine Walters, General Manager of St John at Hackney, on gaining the award, working with Attitude is Everything, and the practicalities of being a ‘pop up’ venue:

“We are delighted! Me and my colleagues at the church of St John at Hackney have a strong desire to make the church as accessible as possible. I was amazed that we were able to achieve this, but it’s a fantastic space and despite being built for a different purpose, it works really well for live concerts.

Attitude is Everything is a fantastic organisation with a friendly approach to clients. I feel that I can always call them up if I need help with something and they cultivate friendship through business in everything they do!

Being a working church whilst operating as a 1400 capacity venue St John at Hackney is effectively a large “pop up”. Everything that goes up must come down! Churches weren’t built to be music venues but there is some synergy and in many ways we’re well set up in terms of sight lines to the stage. Number of toilets, less so! Luckily Reverend Sue is a true supporter of our gigs programme and quite enjoys coming to gigs and being a key part of the events team –  she’s the boss!”

Emma Stell, Events Administrator at Union Chapel, on gaining the award and access plans for the future:

“We’re delighted to have been awarded a Bronze standard Charter of Best Practice by Attitude is Everything.  We do face some unusual access challenges as a venue based in a working Victorian Gothic church and being recognised as going the extra mile solve those for Deaf and disabled customers makes us very proud.

We have further plans to improve our accessible toilet and box office facilities, particularly by investing in new induction loops. We are also looking at adjustments we can make to the booking process make the process of coming to a gig easier from beginning to end.”