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Are fireworks celebrations accessible for the disabled and elderly?

Are fireworks celebrations accessible for the disabled and elderly?
October 21, 2019

With Bonfire Night rapidly approaching, now is the time to excitedly look for the celebration you want to attend. With hundreds across the country, there are loads to choose from. For some, however, you need to ensure that they’re accessible for the disabled and the elderly.

You’ll need to be on the lookout for information ranging from parking and general accessibility along the paths when making your way to the location of the display. The question is, where and how can you find this information?

Bonfire Night can not only be distressing if there are accessibility issues, but the loud noises and bright lights can also cause further stress-related implications. 

With a majority of events across the country being encouraged to become accessible and to make their accessibility clear, you’d think fireworks events would follow suit. At Fenetic Wellbeing, we did some research to find out just how many fireworks celebrations across the country were advertising their accessibility information to make life easier for you. 

The statistics that we found surprised us. We assumed a majority of fireworks events would have information readily displayed on the site for those who need it to find it with ease. However, we were wrong... 

New Year'S Eve, Fireworks, Beacon, Rocket, Light


72% of UK fireworks celebrations are not wheelchair accessible

You’d think that a majority of fireworks celebrations across the country would have wheelchair accessibility but you might be wrong. We found that 72% of fireworks shows across the UK are not wheelchair accessible, or at least they don’t advertise it. This potentially makes them difficult for the disabled and elderly to attend without the guarantee they can actually access the show. 

62% of fireworks events do not display disabled accessibility information

Disability access information should be readily available ahead of any major event, and fireworks displays should be no different. This information should include things like parking and general access for wheelchairs.

Our research found that 62% of the events reviewed didn’t have any disability information, whether that be stating whether they are accessible or not, displayed anywhere on their website. This is another surprising statistic with a majority of sites and events now being encouraged to display accessibility to make events open to everyone. 

80% of fireworks displays don’t have a dedicated disability access page

Although some displays do have access information on their website, 80% of sites don’t have a dedicated page for disabled accessibility. Again, another worrying statistic, meaning that even though some sites do have the info available, it’s not particularly easy to find. 

So what solution is there readily available for those still wanting to attend fireworks celebrations despite their lack of accessibility? 

Are you looking for an offroad wheelchair solution?

A lot of fireworks displays take place in fields where you might find the need to manage grassy and off road terrain. We have recently released an all terrain outdoor wheelchair, capable of tackling the task of off road fireworks events. 

This wheelchair comes fitted with large treaded pneumatic tyres to provide the user with additional comfort and gives the wheelchair extra grip on rougher and uneven terrains. Also included is a handbrake for the attendant, a feature rarely found on self propel wheelchair models. 

It’s also very easy to fold away making it ideal for both storage and transportation in the car if you’re needing to drive to the celebrations.

Fenetic Offroad Wheelchair 

What impact does this have on those who need the accessibility?

We spoke to bloggers about their experiences with Bonfire Night and how they find the accessibility and other implications of the night. 

Chris Cusack, Disability Horizons

"The reason I don't go to organised displays is mainly because they are held in winter, generally in the middle of a field or park on wet muddy ground. My powered chair gets stuck/covered in mud and I get frozen for 10 minutes of fireworks. Generally, fireworks night for myself is spent either in my own garden or the garden of a friend with a selection of shop-bought fireworks" 


Pippa Stacey, Life of Pippa

"For many people with chronic illnesses, bonfire night can be challenging. Not only are many firework displays inaccessible for wheelchair-users, but the sensory challenges of repeated loud noises and bright lights can cause symptoms of long-term conditions such as ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and many more to be exacerbated... even when you're simply staying indoors rather than attending a display. For me personally, noise-cancelling headphones help me to enjoy and endure the days around bonfire night as much as possible!" 

Get in touch with the organisers if you’re concerned

Before you head out to a fireworks display, it’s important to check whether they’re accessible or not. Although they don’t have any details on their website, some of the displays we’ve looked at may still be accessible. 

Some are based in city centres, so you’re unlikely to have any issues getting to and from the display. If you’re unsure, try and call the venue that’s hosting the display or if it’s run by the council, give your local council a call and ask them for guidance. 

A lot of displays are hosted at rugby clubs and local pubs and are highly likely to be wheelchair accessible. It may be worth looking into these kinds of displays rather than ones in fields or parks that can turn inaccessible in inclement weather. 

We hope you’re able to find a fireworks celebration that’s perfect for you and that’s accessible. If you need any more information then don’t hesitate to use our live chat below and we’ll do our best to help you!

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