Government have announced the establishment of a new partnership between the Ministry of Equality, Gibraltar Cultural Services Agency and the Self Determination Group for Gibraltar (SDGG) for the purpose of making the Gibraltar Fair more inclusive and sensory friendly.
These new initiatives will be available all throughout this year’s fair which commences on the 19 August to 27 August.
Sensory adaptations will be available for the first two hours of the fair, from 7:30 pm to 9:30pm, during which period lights will be switched off and sound will be minimised.
This will be particularly beneficial for people with autism, photosensitive epilepsy, visual & hearing impairments, and Sensory Processing Disorders.
This year will also see the launch of the “Easy Access Pass” (The Pass). This Pass will be applicable in two different ways:
- At attractions where there is a requirement to queue, Pass holders will upon reaching the front of the queue have to present their Pass to the attraction greeter (feriante). The attraction greeter will then secure a seat for the Pass holder.
- At attractions where there is no designated queue line, Pass holders will need to present their Pass to the attraction greeter (feriante) at the ticket box when purchasing the ticket. The attraction greeter will then secure a seat for the Pass holder.
This new initiative will be particularly useful for people with mobility impairments.
Not all rides are suitable for all visitors as each have strict operating requirements based on the containment of the ride, the force of the ride and the evacuation procedure. Attraction greeters (feriantes) have to follow all rules and restrictions for health and safety reasons; therefore people are asked to please not ask attraction greeter (feriantes) to break these rules, as they are there for the safety of all. Consequently, attraction greeters (feriantes) may refuse admission to a ride if they feel that the safety of a visitor or the safety of others visitors may be at risk.
Applicants will need to provide proof of their disability either by the provision of a copy of their valid Blue Badge or by signing the application form waiver. The signing of the waiver is simply to allow the Ministry of Equality to contact other HM Government of Gibraltar Departments, Agencies and Authorities for the purpose of the provision of proof of stated disability. Information provided will be held securely by the Ministry of Equality in accordance with its obligations under the Data Protection Act 2004.
In the case where a minor is the holder of a Blue Badge or the person with a disability, application forms may be completed by a parent or guardian. Completed application forms need to be handed in at the Ministry of Equality by no later than Thursday 10 August. The Pass will be issued in the name of the Blue Badge Holder or the person with the disability as the case may be Applicants meeting the criteria will be notified when their Pass is ready for collection.
The Minister for Equality, Samantha Sacramento said: “An evening at the fair is a very popular Gibraltarian tradition and one of the many entertainment highlights of the summer. Many families look forward to the fair all year round and it is thoroughly enjoyed by many generations. The introduction of these initiatives is another important step by the Ministry of Equality in making our cultural events more inclusive and accessible. People with disabilities will now be able to access attractions more easily and not be affected by social barriers. The Ministry of Equality is very thankful to the SDGG and Gibraltar Cultural Services Agency for embracing the opportunity of working together and developing this idea. Both officials from the Ministry of Equality and I are very encouraged by this collaboration and we look forward to seeing other organisations in the private sector eager to introduce initiatives which promote inclusivity”.
The Minister for Culture, Stephen Linares said: “As is the norm by now inspired by the Ministry of Equality and taken on board by the ministries I'm charged for, ALL have the right of enjoyment to everything that we organise despite their disability. This policy is one that is now enshrined in law but is a reality. I'm pleased that it is being followed by the likes of the SDGG and should now be done by all other entities".
Mr Richard Buttigieg, Chairman of the SDGG, said: “We are extremely pleased to have in some small way contributed to making the fair a more inclusive and enjoyable event for everyone in our Gibraltarian society. We are delighted to be able to adapt and innovate in order to bring about these changes but huge credit must go to the Hon Minister Sacramento and the Ministry for Equality because it is they who highlight the issues and galvanise the various entities into positive action”.