Our front of house staff and volunteers will assist and provide a friendly welcome to all visitors, based on the belief that everyone has a fundamental right to engage with, use and enjoy the Minster, its collections and the services it offers.
York Minster exists for the glory of God and as a sign of God's kingdom in the world. This Mission is expressed through
- Daily worship and prayer
- Welcome and pastoral care
- Education and learning
- Service to the community
In order to fulfil that Mission we commit ourselves to
- Provide patterns of worship and music appropriate to our setting and to the needs of those we serve.
- Welcome in Christ's name all who come here to take part in Christian worship, or who visit as pilgrims, tourists or to attend events.
- Work with the Archbishop of York in the mission of the Church in the City, Diocese and Province.
- Work with other Christian Churches to promote the unity of the Church. Develop educational resources and programmes to enable people to learn about and grow in the Christian faith.
- Maintain and develop the heritage of the Minster, its surroundings and its environment as a witness to the Christian faith and as a resource for both church and community
Overcoming barriers to access
It follows from its Mission that York Minster wants to be accessible to everyone, whatever the purpose of their visit, as well as to its staff and volunteers. The Minster recognises, however, that there are many barriers to access, be they physical, cultural, social, financial, intellectual, psychological or emotional. This policy sets out our commitment to removing or reducing those barriers, and to building accessibility into everything we do to provide, develop or enhance our services. Our commitment is long term and we aim to make improvements whenever our resources permit.
To eliminate barriers and ensure equality of access we will consider the following forms of accessibility
- We will adapt the building where possible to enable people with physical disabilities to reach and appreciate every part of the Minster. Where physical access remains impossible, we will look for alternative ways to provide access to information about them – for example, through publications or displays
- We will take into account the needs of the elderly, families with young children and carers and companions to disabled people in making these adaptations or alternative arrangements
- We will find ways to enable visitors with impaired vision or hearing to enjoy the Minster, its collections and programmes; and will work with different groups to more fully use the opportunities that the building offers – its sounds and textures as well as its visual appearance.
- We will make sure that any audio information is available in printed format and that all printed information is available in other accessible formats (e.g. large text print format).
- We recognise that people have different learning styles and we will provide interpretation in a range of media and at different levels. We also aim to ensure people with learning difficulties can engage with and enjoy the Minster, its collections and programmes.
- We will consider the needs of people for whom English is not their first language, whose knowledge of English history and culture may be limited, and who belong to other faiths or to none.
Attitudinal / Emotional
- We will ensure the Minster and its staff and volunteers are welcoming to people from all sections of the community. We will also aim to ensure that the people of York and the wider region feel that the Minster is of significance to them, and that the values they attach to it are reflected in its displays and programmes.
- When reviewing our admission and other charges we will take into account the extent to which ability to pay can be a barrier to access and consider how this might be overcome. We will seek to ensure that the need for charges is more fully understood, and that opportunities for free or reduced cost admission are effectively promoted.
We aim to provide equal access to our buildings and facilities wherever this is possible, and will work towards improving the facilities available to people with disabilities within the Minster, the Centre for School Visits and the Old Palace; we will actively try to make our collections and programmes accessible even when parts of our buildings are not.
We will ensure that fire egress and evacuation procedures for disabled staff and visitors are safe, well defined, commonly known, implemented and practised.
We will provide staff and volunteers with clear guidelines for access around the building and within the Precinct.
We will regularly review the provision and maintenance of wheelchairs, fire alarms,induction loops and the range of seating available in the Minster and Undercroft.
We will ensure that all external contractors, consultants and outside agencies working in the Minster are familiar with and work within the terms of its access policy.
Access to Collections
We are committed to increasing public access to the collections, to information about them, and to increasing knowledge and understanding of the Minster’s place in our local, regional and national cultural heritage.
We will provide varied means of access to the collections, including displays, handling sessions, publications, online material and events.
We will provide levels of information and interpretation to suit a range of audiences and abilities. We will ensure that the presentation and labellingof displays respects the diversity those who use and enjoy them.
Access to Learning
We will provide learning opportunities for different audiences and levels of ability and tailor our programmes to the needs of specific groups.
We will identify and develop partnerships with a range of educational and community organisations to ensure that our activities continue to cater for the widest possible audiences.
Our front of house staff and volunteers will assist and welcome all visitors. They will be available in the Minster to help visitors understand and enjoy the building and the daily round of activities going on within it.
We will consider the comfort of our visitors by providing, where possible, accessible toilets, baby changing facilities, access for pushchairs, seating and on-site wheelchairs.
We aim to provide appropriate signage, information and orientation to suit a range of audiences, including a range of sensory formats and languages.
Access to information
We will promote the Minster’s activities and events using accessible means of communication and in a range of different places, depending on the activity and its audience.
We will seek to provide material on request in alternative formats for a range of needs and languages.
Information on access arrangements will be made available in a range of formats including on our website and through our visitor services staff.
We will provide a range of ways that people can communicate with us.
We will evaluate all our services and projects to ensure they meet the provision of this policy and we will consult users and non-users on all new developments.
A commitment to training
The Minster will seek to ensure that all its staff and volunteers have received appropriate training to support them in helping others to access the Minster and its services.
We will review this access policy annually, or more if appropriate, to ensure it is in line with national guidelines and standards.