A new initiative has been launched to help venues and event organisers in West Yorkshire become more accessible to disabled artists and audiences.

It will be the first scheme to be rolled out as part of Mayor Tracy Brabin’s £2.3 million ‘You Can Make It Here’ programme, which aims to support and grow the region’s creative sector through a range of training and investment opportunities.

Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said: “We're on a mission to make sure that West Yorkshire’s world class culture offer is accessible to all.

“This first investment is just the beginning. Everything we’re rolling out over the coming months is going to give our creative businesses, freelancers, venues and beyond the support they need to unleash their potential.

“Thanks to devolution giving us the freedom to play to our strengths, we’re building a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire that works for all.”

More ‘You Can Make It Here’ initiatives are set to be launched over the coming months, including business and skills training to support freelancers, help for creative businesses to increase their exports, and a music sector network to boost activity in the region.

Opportunities for young people from disadvantaged groups to break down the barriers and secure employment in television and film production roles will also be introduced, through an extension of support for the Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme, run by Screen Yorkshire.

Delivered by Wakefield based disabled-led organisation, Unlimited, the inaugural accessibility session took place in Halifax today, where attendees learnt the basics of disability equality, how to make venues and events accessible, and how to support disabled artists and audiences.

The new resource offers a one-stop shop for support and guidance, with grants of up to £10,000 also available to help make cultural venues more accessible.

Jo Verrent, director at Unlimited, said: "We’re excited to be bringing this bespoke programme of training, advice and guidance, along with small-scale capital grants that will support and empower arts organisations and those who programme arts events across Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield.

“We exist to support, and commission disabled artists and create change across the sector. So, I’m thrilled this work is happening in the North, our home, so we can really catalyse change that makes a lasting impact for disabled artists and disabled led work.”

The ‘You Can Make It Here’ programme - approved by leaders in July - cements the Mayor’s pledge to deliver a ‘Creative New Deal’ for the region and reaffirms her commitment to supporting the freelancers excluded from receiving support during the pandemic.

For more details on the schemes soon to be launched and how to apply for support, visit www.wybusiness-skills.com/business-support/you-can-make-it-here.