A guide seeking to clarify the processes behind the government’s Access to Work scheme has been published to help arts workers with a disability access grants and support.
It is hoped this will, in turn, increase disabled representation among the cultural workforce.
The digital guide, which is available in different formats including easy read and audio only, provides specific advice for the arts and cultural sector in navigating the Access to Work system.
Access to Work is the Department for Work and Pensions’ employment support programme, designed to offer grants for people with disabilities which will help them overcome barriers they face while in paid employment.
The new guide, published by Disability Arts Online and Arts Council England, has been created to increase the number of disabled people working at arts organisations and offer advice about the relationship between Access to Work and Arts Council funding.
Abid Hussain, director of diversity at the Arts Council, described the current proportion of arts workers that have a disability as “frustratingly low”.
ACE’s most recent diversity monitoring report revealed that the number of national portfolio organisation employees with a disability has increased by just one percentage point over three years, to 5%.
Hussain said: “This guide, which was developed in collaboration with the sector and shared insights from people who have applied to Access to Work, is part of those efforts [to increase the number].”
The guide is split into three sections; one for self-employed workers, one for people in or seeking full-time employment, and one for employers.
Each section has a video version, which includes British Sign Language and optional captions and is presented by theatremaker Jess Thom and D/deaf theatre access consultant Deepa Shastri.
Disability Arts Online chief executive Trish Wheatley added that she hoped the guide would empower organisations to be more confident in recruiting disabled people.
The guide can be found here.