Accessibility of Slessor Gardens

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Slessor Gardens in Dundee has hosted many concerts over the last year including Little Mix, UB40, Olly Murs and Steps. Last month our Marketing Manager Claire D’All went to see Rita Ora. She hadn’t been to a concert here before as she was apprehensive about the accessibility seating area, however she was delighted when she was asked to go and do a review for an accessibility charity.

A lot of people who require special requirements experience apprehension when visiting new places, this is why virtual tours can be a great tool. Allowing visitors to view an unfamiliar area from a comfortable place beforehand and help plan their journey with confidence. See our virtual tour of Slessor Gardens here.

On the day of the Rita Ora concert Claire went down with her helper to the box office an hour before the gates opened as she wanted to be organised with tickets but tensely had to wait for her friend to finish work first, so they could go together. When Claire arranged her tickets, she was sent a PDF through by email regarding accessibility information, including accessible parking information.

From previous concerts she had heard that road closures were mayhem, so she decided to play safe and park behind the Overgate shopping centre at Shopmobility. Claire parks here a lot during the weekend because blue badge holders are able to park for free out with Shopmobility opening times. The car park is importantly close enough to the venue for easy access but far enough away from the worst affected traffic areas.

When Claire walked down to the box office at Slessor Gardens she noticed there was a massive queue, so in traditional British style, she instinctively joined it to collect her tickets. After about 10 minutes of waiting in a queue that wasn’t moving she asked her helper to go over to the box office window to check that they were in the right queue whilst she kept their place. The lady said they were so, they waited. However, again after another 10 minutes the gates to the concert area opened and instead of going to the box office window the people in the queue just entered through the gates. This is when she realised they were in fact in the wrong queue so, she zoomed around to the box office!!

Long queue at box office.
Long queue at box office.

This is when Claire encountered her first accessibility problem. The window of the box office was too high for being in her wheelchair, this meant she couldn’t communicate with staff herself. She felt this took away her independence due to the fact the box office staff couldn’t hear her, and she couldn’t hear them. If staff were trained to be aware of and how to handle these situations then this could easily help overcome the problem.

Box office window height.
Box office window height.

After finally collecting the tickets, they went in via a designated entrance lane for visitors with a disability and Claire had no problems entering the concert area and found everything else fairly accessible. She did encounter the same problem as the box office window when visiting the bar area. It was so high she couldn’t see what they sold and again, someone else had to talk for her. The accessible toilets weren’t suitable for Claire as she requires a Changing Place toilet, although she can imagine it would be difficult to use for most people as it was quite small.

Size of accessible toilet
Size of accessible toilet

One thing Claire loved about attending a concert at Slessor Gardens was the view of the stage from the accessible seating area. Usually accessible seating areas are positioned behind the crowds, but at Rita Ora she was right at the front. Claire sat at the back of the accessible seating area as she prefers to be able to get out and in without having to ask people to move.

View of stage from where Claire was sitting.
View of stage from where Claire was sitting.

Overall Claire would definitely recommend going to see a concert at Slessor Gardens, although she would recommend being prepared for all weathers she got soaked from the rain and had to leave early because she got so cold!

You can watch Claire’s vlog from attending the concert on her YouTube channel here.

Follow Claire D'All:

I graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Computing. During my studies the field that I had a great interest in was web development however since graduating I have also become very interested in accessibility. I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and since the age of 3 I have used a wheelchair 24/7. Due to my disability I have always come across problems regarding accessibility, which is why it’s such a passion for me.

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