Birmingham Pride Accessibility Policy: 2023
Birmingham Pride has been one of the biggest and most vibrant Prides in the UK since 1997 with 1000’s of participants taking part in the Parade in 2019. Birmingham Pride is committing to inclusivity and access, with the aim of achieving a ‘gold standard’ of accessibility according to Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice by 2024.
The 2023 Pride Parade will leave from Centenary Square, march along New Street, then up High Street, before turning onto Carrs Lane. It then follows St Martins Queensway (which becomes Small Brook Queensway) to Hurst Street where it will end near the entrance to the LGBTIQ Village Street Party.
- It is approximately 1.5 miles long, and takes about 45mins from start to finish given the slow moving nature of the parade, which will have a lot of stops and starts.
- From start to end the parade has a strong street party aspect. You can expect hundreds of people at the gathering point and, as such, noise, music from the floats, and excited, joyful crowds of marchers.
- We suggest you make sure you bring any aids you require to help manage crowds, such as ear plugs, headphones, companions / personal assistants, stim toys, grounding aids, and consider exit strategies in advance. The Exchange building on Centenary Square has offered some quiet space should you require it, and the Birmingham Library, by it’s nature, is often quieter. There is also a small park behind the REP and the Library with benches if required.
- The majority of the parade route is lined a few people deep with spectators that cheer, wave flags and take photos. Our security team lines the route and will be there to assist if required. PLEASE ACTION
- Because of the nature of the Parade the start time can often be delayed, and we release walking groups/floats one at a time in a predetermined order. It’s wise to be prepared to spend some time waiting, especially if your group is one of the last groups to leave. Consider bringing any refreshments and aids required to help you wait that you (and any assistance animals) might need.
- If you need to leave the parade at any point just explain to our security staff who will make sure you can exit through the barriers.
- The parade follows streets which are wheelchair accessible. There are a couple of points where it crosses closed roads but there are lowered curbs.
- There are accessible and changing places toilets at the following points along the route. The vast majority require a radar key, and we suggest you bring your own.
- Centenary Square: The ground floor of the Birmingham Library, and basement & ground floor of The Exchange building
- Birmingham New Street Station: Near the left luggage on the ground floor (Accessible from New Street and Smallbrook Queensway entrances)
- Bullring Shopping Centre: Accessible toilets on the far left and right sides the ground (Moore Street and Smallbrook Queensway entrances) and 1st floor. A changing places toilet is available opposite Selfridges on the 2nd floor (the entrance at New Street level), and can be accessed by lift if you enter at Smallbrook Queensway, however from there the New Street station toilet is closer.
- There are no public benches at the Parade finish point, so if you anticipate needing to rest we suggest planning somewhere to go in advance so you don’t need to search when tired &/or sore.
Watching The Parade
“The Parade cuts through the heart of Birmingham on a Saturday. It attracts both large numbers of people that have come to watch and show support, as well as local onlookers. The spectators are a massive part of the parade helping to reflect and spread joy and love.
- The section running along New Street & the High Street – especially near the Bullring – is often the busiest and can be tightly packed, at least a couple of rows of people deep, with shoppers navigating behind them.
- The quietest areas are further along the Parade route, usually along St Martins Queensway/Smallbrook Queensway.
- We suggest arriving earlier, and bringing your access aids. For example; a portable seat, noise defenders, or a companion to help make it more comfortable for you.
- Accessible and changing places toilets are available at Birmingham New Street Station and the Bullring, if you need access to these consider ensuring you are on the same side of the parade route as they are to avoid difficulties crossing when it’s in full flow.”
If you require a carer’s ticket we have a dedicated form you can access HERE
To apply for a free ticket for your personal assistant/carer, you need to do the following:
- Purchase your/the disabled customer’s ticket.
- Go to our Eventree page and fill in the form to apply for one and upload evidence of need. CLICK HERE
- We accept a wide array of evidence as we are aware there is no register of disabled people, and not all disabled people are in receipt of certain financial support. Some examples of evidence we will accept include; Proof of disability benefits (or proof you are in the application stage), scans of a blue badge (back side), evidence of purchase of disability aids & adaptations, evidence of employing personal assistants or of your carer’s carers allowance/attendance allowance. If you don’t have any of these then please still fill in the form and get in contact with us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can chat with you and work something out.
- If you do not have evidence available to upload, then you can bring some with you on the day. If you have any issues at the gate, then ask them to contact either the Access Team or the Access lead. This might involve some waiting, so it is by far easiest to upload evidence in advance.
The main stage is now located at the Smithfield’s site, exact location to be confirmed, but we will let you know where the accessible entrance will be as soon as possible. Access volunteers will have rainbow sashes on and all volunteers should be able to direct to the right place. The Parade finishes on Pershore Street, where the general ticket kiosks will be. The Accessible kiosk will be clearly marked and next to the VIP kiosk. Please do not join the general queue. Moving the music festival should make moving around the pedestrianised Gay Village a lot easier. We are also happy to announce the return of the Village Green on Hurst Street itself. This will have seating, a slightly raised stage with local performers accompanied by a BSL interpreter. This is our quieter zone for Pride 2023, but it will still have some noise so please be prepared for that. There is also the future stage which is in the Nightingale Club this year, a fully accessible venue (ground floor only). There will be a mobiloo changing places toilet at the Pride Village site. This is so pride goers on any ticket band can access it and it will be available as soon as you’ve finished the parade.
Dogs are welcome during the parade and throughout the festival. Water bowls and shaded areas will be available in the disabled viewing area and at the Community green area. Whilst dogs are welcome, please be aware that the Pride sites are noisy, crowded and potentially very warm, so please plan accordingly.
Travel Guide and Map
The Arcadian car park is the recommended car park for Pride goers and often does deals for those with Pride tickets.It has 11 disabled spaces on the ground floor. The Mailbox car park is situated close to Victoria Square, within walking distance of the Gay Village and has 16 disabled spaces. The normal tariff applies to Blue Badge users in both of these car parks.
The Town Hall car park (otherwise known as the red cage), is close to Centenary square and within walking distance of the Gay village. It has 6 disabled spaces and is free for blue badge users. Street Parking.
The following link shows all the on-street blue badge parking bays in Birmingham city centre.
There are two full size blue badge bays behind the rep, navigate to old rep stage door in a sat nav to reach these. There are also a number of blue badge bays in the side roads off Broad Street. These will be the best options for the parade parking. Centenary Square itself is closed to cars, the closest drop off location is by the Hyatt Hotel or the Old Rep stage door.
John Bright Street (behind the Alexandra Theatre) is close to both the parade start and the Gay Village. Moat Lane is next to the Smithfield’s Site but not adjacent to the accessible entrance. Most of the streets have limited BlueBadge bays but a greater number of pay and display bays, which are free for Blue Badge users (witn no time limits).
The Hurst Street bays will be cordoned off during Pride.
Also be aware that Birmingham City Centre now operates a clean air zone so certain high emission vehicles may be subject to an £8 charge. Vehicles with a disabled tax class are exempt.
This information is correct to the best of our knowledge, but there may be last minute changes and road closures.
Birmingham City Centre is served by numerous buses coming in from all over the West Midlands. Centenary Square is easiest to reach via the following bus services; 9, 23, 24, 61, 63, 126, 822, 829, x10,
The Pride Sites are easiest to access via the following bus services; 16 & 16A, 17, 25, 34, 35, 45, 47, 50, 61, 63, 80A, 144, 150, X1 and X2.
Each bus has ramp access and priority seating. Mobility scooter users require a pass to ride. Ring and Ride The Birmingham Ring and Ride service operates Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.30pm and Saturday between 8.30am and 3.30pm. There is no Sunday service. You can register for the service online.
The Parade and Pride Sites can all be accessed via Birmingham New Street, Birmingham’s central Train Station.
The Pride Sites are also accessible from Birmingham Moor Street Station and Centenary Square can be accessed via Birmingham Snow Hill.
Moor street is approximately 15 minutes walk away, Snow Hill 20 minutes walk. Most sites are 10 minutes from Birmingham New Street and the ground is generally fairly level in most directions from New Street.
The Town Hall and Grand Central stops are closest to Centenary Square where the Parade Starts this year.
Grand Central is also the closest to the Pride Site at an approximately 10 minute walk.
Each Tram has 2 disabled priority bays. Mobility scooter users require a pass to ride. RNIB Key Fobs
Public Transport users with visual impairments can request an RNIB key fob which gives them real time audio information of their location via a phone app. The fobs are enabled on the majority of public transport in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
There are a great number of hotel rooms and apartments in Birmingham City Centre.
The closest to the action is the Ibis Birmingham New Street which has 2 accessible rooms, and is a literal stone’s throw from the Gay Village. However, Pride can be a noisy affair and tends to go on well into the evening, so if a good night’s sleep is more important than being walking distance from the action we’d recommend staying in other areas of Birmingham city centre or a surrounding suburb.
Accessible wristbands are available for anyone from the deaf/hoh community and no proof is required. The accessible viewing platform will have the QR code prominently displayed for the live stream. This means you can have live audio directly from your personal headphones as well as your own image of the BSL interpreter and closed captions. There are BSL interpreters on the main stage, cabaret stage and village green community stage.
- We will have BSL interpreters on our Main Stage, Cabaret Stage, and Community Stage.
- We are hoping to improve on last year by having the Main Stage BSL interpreter highlighted on at least one of the two large video screens, so they are visible from a distance.
We know many people struggle to stand for long periods. Birmingham Pride has public wooden picnic benches that can be found:
- Near the Community Stage in the LGBT Village Street party area
- Under cover in the food court area of the Smithfield Site
- Individual businesses in the LGBT Village have seating for customers. If you ask security or bar staff, they may be able to offer assistance finding somewhere, but these venues can get very busy.
If you know you’ll need to sit a lot we suggest planning, and bringing aids or companions with you that can assist you.
Pride on a Budget
We understand that times are hard financially for everyone, especially for disabled people. There are ways to experience some of the festivities on a budget:
- On Friday we host a free to access Community Event, including music, performances, and a candlelit vigil. This year it will be held in the LGBT Village and promises to be a night of expression, community, and joy.
- The Saturday Pride Parade is free to march in or to spectate.
- The Pride Festival is split over two sites,
- the Smithfield Site with the Main Stage, the Cabaret Stage, and the Dance Tent and,
- the LGBT Village Street Party, which covers Hurst Street and some of the cross-cutting roads, as well as containing a lot of Birmingham’s most iconic bars and venues all with their own entertainment offerings. It has the Community Stage, showing a variety of excellent diverse drag cabaret, community stalls and more.
- You can buy lower cost tickets which cover access to the Street Party either for a day, or for the weekend.
- We offer free tickets for Personal Assistants/Carers, over 65’s and under 12’s.
- Many places around Birmingham also offer Pride events outside of the ticketed area.
- Our volunteers get access to the festival and you are welcome to apply. We have upcoming Volunteer Open Days at The Loft Bar on Bromsgrove Street on Saturday 18th March and the 1st April. See our social media for more information.
Our Staff and Volunteers
Birmingham Pride’s Staff & Volunteers make the event, and we are all too well aware that nothing we put in policy means much if it isn’t then delivered to our visitors. To make sure this happens our staff and volunteers will all receive training to ensure they are not accidentally perpetuating harmful stereotypes or disablism/ableism and are able to provide the same great assistance to disabled attendees as they would nondisabled attendees.”
“While we are not responsible for individual businesses and their staff, we will continue to work with them to improve access and experience for disabled customers.
On our map and Venues page we state the level of accessibility for each venue. This includes fully accessible, partially accessible, or inaccessible venues. Note that all these venues play music in the main areas and often at a lower level in their external spaces, and often get crowded. None have hearing loops or BSL as far as we are aware.
- A fully accessible venue has step free entry and access to all areas as well as accessible toilets.
- Sidewalk Bar
- The Loft
- A partially accessible venue has step free access as a minimum although most also have accessible toilets.
- The Nightingale – ground floor level of the nightingale has step free access on request from the door staff, and an accessible toilet, The second floor has an accessible toilet but no step free access.
- The Village Inn – has step free access to the main ground floor, and the courtyard smoking area. This is accessible through a back passage on request from the door staff. Once in if you need help with doors ask security or at the bar for assistance.
- Missing – Narrow front doors (~80cm wide) that will fit a standard power chair or rollator. The ground floor is accessible but narrow with an accessible toilet.
- The Fox – upon request a door and ramp can be opened into a narrow passage to access some of the ground floor of the venue. There is no accessible toilet. There is a ramp that can be used to access some of the garden.
- A fully inaccessible building has no step free access.
We are not doing full paper programmes this year, but a ‘Pride Guide’ document will be available on the day in large print. All our online information should be suitable for e-readers and similar software. Please get in touch if this is not the case.
Pets at Pride
Birmingham Pride welcomes your pooches on to the street festival site, but in the interests of animal welfare, due to noise, we do not allow pets onto Smithfield LIVE.
Our Access Lead is Emma Round (they/them) a neurodivergent wheelchair user & drag king with over a decade’s experience in activism and access. You can email them at email@example.com.
If you have already purchased tickets and require a carer’s ticket, please apply for one as detailed above in the Carer’s Ticket section above. If you have another query about the actual ticket buying process, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with any relevant details.