KOKO started working with Attitude is Everything and signed to the Charter of Best Practice in April 2008. Despite the building, which was formerly Camden Palace, being listed and based on multiple floors with no lift access; the management were able to implement a number of improvements to the access facilities in order to create an accessible experience for all of their Deaf and disabled customers.
The first step was to adapt what was originally a cloakroom into an accessible toilet located nearest to the viewing platform they created on the balcony. They also ramped the front door, providing step free access into the venue and through to the accessible facilities. As it is difficult to access the bar area from the viewing platform, staff at KOKO can offer a bartender service where they will bring drinks directly to their disabled customers.
They also created an access policy, including a free ticket for Personal Assistants, a welcome pack given to each of their disabled customers on arrival and a comprehensive guide to access at their venue on their website. They have a dedicated contact for all access enquiries and can arrange early arrival for disabled customers and will try to accommodate any access requirements where possible.
KOKO invested in Disability Equality Training, implemented new access policies and made further physical changes to the venue, including making their backstage areas accessible for disabled performers. They are now working towards the Gold Level of the Charter, with some elements already fulfilled and more changes planned. All frontline staff have received Introductory and Advanced level Disability Equality Training.
During their initial training session, the management team at KOKO created a strong Action Plan, detailing improvements they planned to make in the future, which led to KOKO achieving the Silver level of the Charter of Best Practice in January 2012.
Since signing the Charter, they have developed a regular Deaf and disabled audience, and after creating backstage access, they are now able to provide a far more comfortable and equal experience for Deaf and disabled artists.
The Management at KOKO have always been strong advocates of their partnership with Attitude is Everything and display their Charter status proudly in the lobby. They also put us in touch with Ferrier Pearce to offer us free graphic design for Charter certificates and plaques and have offered to print bespoke certificates for each Charter sign up through their own printers.
“KOKO was superb on Wednesday and I had a really great night. Amadou and Mariam were really brilliant and I thought the venue was by far one of the best I have been to, it was evident that they have worked closely with Attitude is Everything and this made a massive difference to the positive experience that myself and the people I went with had.”
“The training we have received from Attitude is Everything has been of enormous value - increasing staff knowledge and awareness, as well as helping us to develop workable policies on access at KOKO. We have had fantastic feedback and are very proud of the progress we have made. A rolling training programme is now in place to ensure standards remain high.”
Mike Hamer, Operations Manager, KOKO