With funding from Arts Council England, in September 2019 we published a digital guide to Access to Work – the employment support programme run by the Department for Work and Pensions. Access to Work can provide grants to remove barriers disabled people face in undertaking paid employment, including for equipment, travel and support workers.
The guide was developed in collaboration with the arts sector and shares insights from people who have applied to Access to Work. It is designed to better equip disabled arts and cultural workers, and their employers, to navigate and make use of Access to Work.
The guide, which is available in a variety of different formats including easy read and audio-only, clarifies the Access to Work process and provides specific advice for the arts and cultural sector. Recognising that there are many different types of work in the sector, and that artists and creatives often work in a freelance capacity, there are three sections to the guide: one for self-employed workers, one for employees (or prospective employees) and one for employers.
A growing number of resources complement the guide, including information on how Access to Work relates to Arts Council Funding and case studies from disabled-led theatre company Graeae and a self-employed visual artist.
Each section of the guide has a video version, which includes British Sign Language and optional captions, presented by theatre-maker and comedian Jess Thom (best known for her alter ego Touretteshero) and D/deaf theatre access consultant and BSL performer, Deepa Shastri.