Writing an inclusion statement
What is an Inclusion Statement and why is it a good idea to share it with people who might visit us?
An inclusive organisation is one which makes it clear that when they welcome participants or visitors they are committed to ensuring everyone can take part. A ‘can do’ attitude to ensuring people feel welcome and offering reasonable adjustments where needed is the most important element of being inclusive.
One way of showing your organisation takes an inclusive approach is to display an Inclusion Statement on your website or paperwork, and on Directories like You’re Welcome.
An Inclusion Statement is a bit like a very focussed mission statement covering how your organisation aims to include everyone who wishes to take part. It might be quite a general statement explaining that what you offer is open to anyone, or to people from a particular age group e.g. a children’s activity or one for older adults. It might give more detail about how you include those who may feel excluded due to a characteristic such as ethnicity, ability or gender.
If you want to keep it general then make it clear that:
- You welcome everyone who fits your target audience, or just everyone if you don’t have a specific target demographic.
- You do not unfairly discriminate against people on the grounds of age, ethnicity, faith, gender, sexuality or ability.
- You will make reasonable adjustments to enable you to meet the specific requirements of any disabled person who wishes to take part.
- [If applicable] You welcome disabled participants to all sessions/services, suggesting that anyone who would prefer a quieter experience or adapted approach can book/come to a relaxed/dedicated session.
- You welcome people getting in touch to discuss their specific requirements to better enable you to support their participation.
What barriers to participation might exist for disabled people and how can an Inclusion Statement help overcome these?
Barriers to participation for disabled people occur because the environment (built or natural) is generally set up with non-disabled people in mind; the way things are done (procedures) are not adaptable or responsive; or organisations have discriminatory or dismissive attitudes to disabled people and do not respond in an inclusive way to requests to make reasonable adjustments.
Writing an inclusion statement which addresses how you will overcome these barriers can help people decide if they will feel safe, welcome and able to take part by covering, in more detail, how you will be inclusive of people who may have specific requirements. For example:
- We recognise that our environment [buildings and outdoor space] may not be fully accessible for disabled visitors, but we can offer alternative routes to access most areas.
- If you need us to work in a different way to enable you to take part, for example avoiding placing you in a busy environment or large group, please let us know before your visit/when you arrive.
- We are happy to talk with our visitors/participants about any specific requirements they may have and we will work hard to ensure you are able to enjoy your visit/take part.
Giving specific examples can be helpful in making it clear you are genuinely committed to ensuring anyone who wants to take part can do so. e.g. ‘We offer an audio described version of the written displays in our museum.’ ‘We provide a quiet space in our centre for anyone who may feel overwhelmed at busy or noisy times’.
When posting an Event or Thing to Do make sure to select the Accessibility Icons that show which requirements you can meet. This is a very important part of being inclusive as it gives disabled people accurate information to help them decide if your activity or venue is suitable. For more information see our Accessibility Icons Guide.
There is further guidance available in Active Impact’s TOP TIPS FOR WRITING AN INCLUSION STATEMENT.