Top tips on disabled access

This page gives some examples of steps you can take to improve access to film for disabled people.


  • Take advice from a specialist consultant who can audit your building and draw up recommendations and plans for improvement.
  • Set up advisory groups made up of audience members or potential audience members, to discuss the improvements that would benefit them.

Physical changes

  • Install lifts, handrails or ramps and widen walkways to improve access for people with wheelchairs, pushchairs or other mobility restrictions.
  • Improve colour contrast on steps or signage for people with sight impairments.
  • Ensure you can accommodate people with guide dogs or hearing dogs.


  • Install induction loops or infrared systems to increase audibility for people with hearing aids.
  • Ensure special equipment such as headphones and induction loops are working properly.
  • Make every effort to install soft-subtitling and audio-description equipment, and offer a wide choice of films that provide these options.
  • Consider signed performances for British Sign Language users.

Communication and publicity

  • Make information about access, programmes and special screenings easily available through your website, brochures, emails and local press.
  • List relevant screenings on the listings website.
  • Promote your services through existing networks for disabled people.
  • Make sure staff working on your customer enquiry line can provide all the relevant access information.
  • Make sure your website is accessible. The RNIB runs the See it Right scheme which advises on website accessibility and accredits accessible websites. For details, see the RNIB website.
  • Offer a textphone service.

Customer service

  • Accept the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association Card, which entitles a disabled cinema-goer to take another person with them free of charge.
  • Train your staff to ensure they know what facilities are available for customers with disabilities and how to help customers use them.
  • Screen films with subtitling and audio-description at different times through the day or week to make them available to people with a variety of working patterns. Audio-description can be made available for all screenings once the equipment is installed.


  • Include audio-description and subtitling options on all DVD releases.
  • Supply transcripts for cinemas offering British Sign Language screenings.