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Inclusivity, Accessibility and Community

This part of the website is a source of information on how your club or society can be more inclusive and accessible to your members. We encourage you to look through the below guidance and other guidance available to put some steps in place to make sure your club or society is accessible to ALL students and everyone feels welcome.

Content Warning

Content on this page and the resources provided will cover themes of racism, sexual violence, homophobia, transphobia, ableism.

Inclusivity Development Tool

If you are not sure where to start, as a committee have a look at the different sections of our inclusivity development tool and choose some key areas to focus on. The development tool is designed to get you to think about your student group, where it performs well and where there are opportunities for improvements.

Equality and Diversity Handbook

To support equality and diversity officers we have created a booklet that gives you information and advice on how you can make your student group accessible to ALL students. This booklet builds upon what you would have learnt during the Equality and Diversity committee training so it is important that you do attend this training. The booklet can be found here.

We understand that the booklet in PDF format will not be accessible for all students, which is why we have included the information as part of the pages below. If you think there is an important topic or information we have missed out on these pages, please let us know and we can add this in to support other student groups. At the top of this page to the right-hand side, there is the Recite Me toolbar that makes the Students' Union website more accessible. To find out all the features of the recite me toolbar and its functions, click here.

You can view the roles and responsibilities of the equality and diversity officer here.

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Alcohol Awareness - A Night To Remember

What is A Night To Remember?

The campaign provides education and activities on the impact of alcohol on your health to make sure you have a good university experience. This year we will be focusing on mental health and the impact lockdown has had on alcohol intake. This isn't about getting students to stop drinking. It's about creating a positive culture of responsible drinking on and off-campus, changing attitudes towards alcohol, and continuing to provide a safe community for all students.

Due to covid-19 and lockdown in November 2020, the A Night to Remember Booklet this year will support you to run online non-alcohol-related events. Here is the new 2020-21 A Night to Remember Booklet.

Once you can do socials face to face, we will provide you with discounts and incentives to head to places in Norwich to take part in activities such as a gaming cafe, bowling and escape rooms. This is so you can hold low-cost socials for your members, giving you a sustainable alternative. The booklet will also have educational parts about why some students don't drink and the impact of alcohol on our mental health.

Inclusive social Events - Here is the Club Soda - Mindful Drinking for Inclusive Social Events Booklet. Gives you lots of practical tips to support non-drinkers feel included in your events.

Have you got a quiz coming up? Why not add some alcohol awareness questions in - here are some to get you started!

UEA Clubs & Society Survey March 2020: -

  • 15.1% of non-members have not joined a club/society this year as they have too much focus on drinking.
  • 9.8% of society members strongly disagree or disagree that their society has non-alcohol focused socials, 16.6% of club members say the same.

NUS Alcohol Impact survey: -

  • 73% of UEA students agree that they don't like socialising with people who get very drunk and ruin the night for others.
  • 30% of UEA students sometimes feel pressure from their friends to drink more than they would like to.

Alcohol Change UK: -

  • 1 in five (19%) of those surveyed said they had drunk alcohol as a way to handle stress or anxiety during the lockdown. Of these who drank more heavily during lockdown (nice plus units on each drinking day), 40% had drunk as a response to the stress of anxiety.
  • Around 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year and drinking too much or too often can increase our risk. But many of us are unaware of the link between alcohol and poor mental health. Regular drinking can mask underlying mental health problems - such as anxiety and depression - and prevent them from being properly addressed, or even worsen them.

Alcohol awareness week 2023 will take place from 3rd to 9th July on the theme of alcohol and mental health. In a year of extraordinary change and uncertainty, it offers us a chance to think about the ways in which we may sometimes use alcohol to help us cope when we've feeling low, anxious, stressed or worried. It also offers opportunities to highlight some of the more serious mental health problems that can go hand-in-hand with heavy drinking. You can find out more about the link between alcohol and mental health here.

Find out more about what we do for Alcohol Awareness Week here.

If you need support with your drinking or want to support another student, advice (su) and student services are here to help with signposting to external sources of support as well as offering support around managing the impacts of student life such as deadline, attendance and finance. If you are looking for local support, have a look at the Matthew Project and if you are under 25, MAP is here to help.

Last Year's Deals

These were some of the places we had deals with last academic year and we will look to repeat some of these;

You can view the 2019/20 booklet (please note the deals are likely to be outdated now). Here is the Night to Remember Booklet.

Creating Accessible Online Content

  • Space out your text and make sure it is large enough to read easily.
  • Use sans-serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Montserrat). They are easier to read than serif fonts (e.g. times new roman, courier New.).
  • Avoid all caps, italic or underlined test. This changes the shape of the words. If you want to add emphasis, use bold.
  • Go for bullet points and short, simple sentences instead of long paragraphs of text. It also helps to break down your content into sections with clear headings.
  • Does your text make sense in greyscale? Do a print preview of your text in black and white. Does it all still make sense without the colour?
  • Add a text alternative for all images (e.g. Instagram posts) which describes the content in the image, especially diagrams. This can be read by screen-reading software or copied into a translator app.
  • For Instagram you can add alternative text to your posts by using the advanced settings for the post.
  • Avoid placing text directly onto a photo or patterned background. Dark text on a plain pastel background is the easiest to read.
  • Avoid colour combinations that are affected by colour blindness. There are stimulation tools online that allows you to test our content before publishing. The most common colour blindness combination is red/green.
  • Add warnings to any videos that contain sudden loud noise or flashing images.
  • Add on-screen captions for any spoken words or include a transcript as a text alternative for videos to be used with a screen-reader or translator.
  • Avoid using acronyms and complex metaphors. Not everyone will know what you mean.
  • It can be helpful to include your preferred pronouns when introducing yourself online.
  • Make sure if you are using a GIF that it does not contact strobes or flashes rapidly as it may trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.
  • When doing a presentation, slides are clear and easy to read. Sensible font sizes and good contracts between colours. Minimise the number of slides and the amount of text on slides.
  • Participants are warned of sensitive content bu including trigger warnings at the start of the presentation and just before it is going to be talked about.
  • PowerPoints are made available after the presentation to participants.
  • When you advance a slide, pause to let people read it before saying anything. This will allow people who are deaf and everyone else in the audience to read the slide before you start talking.
  • Read the text on the slide to make sure people who are blind in the audience know what is on the slide. Limit the number of visuals on slides.
  • Images that are used should be described so that people who are blind in the audience will know what image is being displayed. Graphs and charts should be described and summarised.
  • Make sure that videos are captioned and audio described. Sometimes it is good to give a brief description of what is in the video before it is played. This will help audience members who are blind to establish context for what they will hear.
  • During Q&A repeat the questions so everyone can hear them.


uea(su) can provide your club or society with anti-racism training. Please email to request this.

Through what we have watched, what we have read and what we have heard, often without realising it, we have absorbed some of these prejudices, which later develop into implicit or unconscious bias. This impacts how we view the world and interact with others. The biases can be reflected in many ways, with one of them being our language. Certain phrases and questions are repeated that has become too familiar for people of colour. These type of phrases, are microaggressions and are one of the ways that people of colour can be made to feel alienated or out of place.

  • "But, where are you really from?"
  • "How is your English so good?"
  • "But you don't LOOK black."

A microaggression is a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (often a racial minority).

Some examples of microaggressions:

  • Touching someone’s hair e.g. touching afro-textured hair
  • Crossing over to the other side of the street to avoid someone from a different ethnicity
  • Being treated less favourably or with more suspicion in a shop than a white person
  • ‘Where are you really from?’
  • Offering more support or help to white students
  • Talking over people with lived experiences of the issue
  • Listen to people with lived experience.
  • Don't talk over someone sharing their lived experience.
  • Challenge subtle forms of racism (such as microaggressions) that you witness taking place.
  • If someone has experienced racism and want to report it, let them know how they can report this. Such as using the report and support website. If they want to report the case in person you could offer to go with them.
  • Celebrate and run events that are culturally diverse. For example, run an event as part of Black History Month.

Eradicate Hate is an SU anti-racism campaign devised by students to address racism on campus and ensure that Black students and students of colour are properly supported. The campaign is designed to educate the community at UEA on what constitutes racist behaviour, to create an anti-racism culture on campus, and to inform students on how to report racist incidents and get support.

The Report and Support portal is a place for students and staff to report incidents of harassment, assault, abuse or bullying of any kind, and is a place to seek support if this has happened to you.

Hate incidents and hate crimes are acts of hostility and violence directed at someone because of who they are or who someone thinks they are.

  • Verbal abuse like name-calling and offensive jokes
  • Bullying or intimidation
  • Physical attacks
  • Threats of violence
  • Hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages, hate mail
  • Online abuse for example on Facebook or Twitter
  • Displaying or circulating discriminatory literature or posters
  • Malicious complaints for example over parking, smells or noise
  • Microaggressions

Commuter Students

Who are commuter students?

Commuter students could be:

  1. anyone that doesn’t live on campus,
  2. anyone who lives at home during university, or
  3. anyone who lives outside of a student area in Norwich.

It is important to note that commuter students are such a diverse group of people and it impossible to generalise across it. You may have some commuter students that choose to live at home because of family, caring and employment responsibilities.

  • Promote the benefits of being a member of your student group. If a commuter student has a lecture at 9am and your session is at 6pm, think about what is going to make them come onto campus again later in the day or potentially wait on campus until the session.
  • Highlight some existing commuter students in your student group and share their experience of being a member. Raising the profile of commuter students will help engage more within your student group.
  • When you run an event you could share information about travel e.g. is there parking at the venue or nearby.
  • A mixture of times for social events, including some daytime events.
  • A variety of event locations, such as having events in Norwich and events on campus. Sometimes students will have to travel to Norwich before they travel to UEA. If you can make some events in the city that cuts out that additional travel time.
  • Think about how you can make your activities and social events as flexibility as possible. Can there be some flexibility with dropping into the session, arriving late or leaving early?
  • Do a mixture of in-person and online events to help all students to be able to access them.
  • Commuter students won't have moved into a flat on campus and potentially haven’t got to know many students when they are considering going to a taster session. Therefore, it is key to make all students feel welcome and develop activities that allow students coming on their own to make friends and develop support networks.

Integrating Members and Reducing Cliques

What is a clique?

A clique is a small close-knit group which tends to exclude outsiders from joining.

We all fall into the trap of being comfortable and sticking to our small little groups. Whether this is your committee or your friends - it happens to all of us.

For example, at society meetings, all the committee members usually sit next to each other and don't integrate with members. This can be seen as cliquey by new members of society and make it seem like you don't want to include them.

Of course, this is not the intention of the behaviour, but it can still prevent new members from coming back.

Read this document to find out some tips and tricks to avoid a clique!

The first initial experience a potential member has of your club or society may determine whether they join or look for alternatives. This first interaction could be before they have even attended a session and could be through messaging the student group or viewing the promotion of your student group. Especially in this new climate where there is going to be online activities, it's more important than ever to support the integration of new members with existing members to make sure no one feels unwelcome or out of place within your student group. Consider looking at doing the following;

  1. Before your first session
    • Discuss with your committee how you would like to welcome new members.
    • Promote information about your club or society.
    • Ask people to let you know if they have any special educational needs, supports or questions. If so, Inform the people involved in welcoming new members.
    • Don’t just use social media to promote activities. For those that are not on social media, they may miss important information and potentially feel like an outsider.
    • Plan a welcome event to integrate members.
  2. During your first session
    • Get the new member involved in an activity as quickly as possible. This will assist the transition and help break the ice. This also shows the new member what your club is all about.
    • Introduce the new members to other people in the club or society. Including all the committee members and what each one does.
    • Create a welcoming environment.
    • Don’t let anyone be isolated or no one speaking to them.
    • Ensure someone from the committee is there to greet new and existing members. This also works online as you could have someone welcoming everyone that joins the call.
  3. After your first session
    • Follow up. This could be a mixture of general statement after the first session or sending some individual messages. It is important to ask the member how their first session went and find out if they need any additional help to settle in. This shows that you care and increases the likelihood of the individual becoming a member.
    • Involve your members in some of the decision making. E.g. Polls for the best time for a social event.

The benefits of all of this;

  • Increased membership for longer.
  • Open doors to students who may not have thought to join your student group.
  • Continue to make your club or society welcoming and inclusive for all.
  • More engagement in your social events.
  • Tackle isolation and loneliness.

Find out how cliquey your group is here!

International Students

For international students, they are a long way from home and many have come to the UK without friends or their family. It is important to contribute to an international student home away from home and help them feel settled.

  • Think about what activities you can do during your welcome week events to help students feel settled, find their way around and provide a warm welcome. If your activity is in the sports park, could you arrange to do a quick 15-minute tour of the sports park to help students to get their bearings on campus?
  • Create a peer support network with your student group. You could look to do this through the buddy(su) scheme allowing students to have someone to help them feel settled during their first couple of weeks as a member of your student group.
  • Explain what a club or society does, what are the benefits etc. For some international students, there may not have been clubs or societies at their previous university and this might be a completely new concept.
  • As coronavirus has spread around the world, there have been many reports on increase harassment and hate crimes directed towards international students. There is no place for harassment and hate crimes at UEA and you should report anything that you see. You may want to refer back to the anti-racism section to understand what microaggression is.
  • During the winter and Easter break, check-in with international students in your club or society. Many will not of had the opportunity to go home during this period and may be feeling isolated or experiencing homesickness.
  • Adapting to a completely new culture and social structure is difficult. Cultural differences and language problems add another barrier for international students. Consider this when you are planning events and activities.


Norfolk LGBT+ Project have created a booklet on A-Z of gender and sexuality terms. You can access this here.

  • Awareness months - get involved with awareness months such as LGBT History Month which takes place in February every year and also Trans Awareness Week that usually is the second week of November.
  • Listen to trans people - The best way to be an ally is to listen with an open mind to trans people speaking for themselves.
  • Don't make assumptions about someone's gender - If you're unsure which pronoun a person uses, listen first to the pronoun other people use when referring to them. Someone who knows the person well will probably use the correct pronoun. If you must ask which pronoun the person uses, start with your own. In a group setting where you don't know everyone, identify people by articles of clothing instead of using gendered language. For example, the "person in the blue shirt," instead of the "woman in the front."
  • Misgendering - Mistakenly misgendering someone doesn’t make you an awful person. If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun, apologise quickly and sincerely, then move on. The bigger deal you make out of the situation, the more uncomfortable it is for everyone.
  • Don't ask about a trans person's genitals, surgical status, or sex life - It would be inappropriate to ask a cisgender person about the appearance or status of their genitals. It is equally inappropriate to ask a transgender person those questions.
  • Avoid backhanded compliments and "helpful" tips. - While you may intend to be supportive, comments like the following can be hurtful or even insulting. (ie. "You look just like a real woman." "He's so hot. I'd date him even though he's transgender.")
  • Be careful about confidentiality, disclosure, and "outing." - Some trans people feel comfortable disclosing their gender history, and some do not. A transgender person's gender history is personal information and it is up to them to share it with others.
  • Respect the terminology a trans person uses to describe their identity - Trans people use many different terms to describe their experiences. Respect the term (transgender, transsexual, non-binary, genderqueer etc.) a person uses to describe themselves.
  • Know your own limits as an ally - don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something. It is better to admit you don't know something than to make assumptions or say something that may be incorrect or hurtful.

It is important to be aware of the challenges facing LGBTQ+ students and how this may impact their participation in your club or society. Understanding this will help you to put actions in place to try combat these. The impact of negative behaviours in your club or society could lead to a student not coming along to any more of your sessions or not engaging in other student groups. It could also make students feel they can’t be themselves and reluctant to be open with others. In Clubs, some challenges might be fear of discrimination from negative previous experiences from secondary school PE lessons or a lack of visual LGBTQ+ coaches and role models in sport.

Some steps you can take as a club or society:

Always challenge homophobic or biphobic language, behaviour or ‘banter’ that is offensive to the LGBTQ+ community. Even if people say language is ‘banter’ or not meant offensively, words and phrases that use sexuality as a joke need to be challenged consistently within your student group. This language isn't always targeted at LGBTQ+ students, it may be targeted at Cisgender and heterosexual students. It is everyone's responsibility to call this type of behaviour out. When incidents occur It’s best to challenge these as soon as they happen. Use questions and explain why someone’s words and actions have an impact.

What do you mean by that? Can a rugby club really be gay?

  • Talk about the personal impact and make it real. ‘When you use that word it can make someone who is gay or has gay family members or friends feel uncomfortable and unwelcome at our student group.’.
  • Make LGBTQ+ challenges more visible by running an event during LGBT History month or at another point during the academic year. You may also want to start your own campaign or if you are a club you could get involved with Stonewall’s rainbow laces. This campaign was created to give sportspeople to show their support for LGBTQ+ people in sport by wearing rainbow coloured shoelaces. Laces might not work for all sports, instead, you might want to wear rainbowed coloured socks, hats etc.
  • If someone comes out to you this in an indication that they trust you and this might be the first time someone has talked about their sexuality. It is important that you are a good listener and reassure them that their confidentiality will be respected. Reinforce that they can be themselves and encourage them to feel positive about who they are.
  • Celebrate LGBTQ+ people's achievements throughout the year and not just limited to during awareness months. This could be as simple as sharing a positive news article on your Instagram story.

Mature Students

Mature students are undergraduates aged over 21 years or postgraduate over 25 years. There may also be students who identify as mature because of experiencing significant life experiences at a younger age.

As a committee, there are some actions you can take to ensure students of all ages feel welcome at your club or society;

  • BE WELCOMING – for some undergraduate mature students, coming to university can be an isolating experience. They may be the only mature student on their course and commuting to university which reduces the time they have to meet other students. It is important you break the ice and make the first move to introduce yourself to make everyone feel welcomed.
  • DO NOT IGNORE – some mature students sometimes feel they are too old to join a club or society. Their first encounter may be through the clubs and Soc fayres during welcome week. There are multiple examples of where a mature student has gone to a stall or an event and been asked to prove they are a student or even worst, they have been completely ignored as people have assumed they are a member of staff. If someone shows an interest in your club or society, please be as welcoming as you would normally.
  • VARIETY OF EVENTS – not all students want to go to events where the focus is drinking or clubbing (this isn’t to say that some mature students don’t want to do this). Make sure you put on a variety of events, including non-alcohol focused socials and utilise the A Night to Remember campaign to support you with planning this. It is important to do a mixture of online and in-person events as online events allow for more flexibility for parents/carers as they do not need to find childcare/care for the event. Please follow the SU events guidelines for in-person events this academic year. You could offer some opportunities for parent/carers to bring the person they look after to an event. Lastly, it is important to give details for events in good time to allow mature students to plan for getting to and from the activity etc.
  • AVOID ASSUMPTIONS – mature students are not that different to the wider student population. All students come to UEA for the same reasons and experience similar issues such as high and lows on courses and in general life. Being able to feel included within the whole university is important for everyone, not just the majority.
  • PROMOTION – the messages you have on your webpage and social media are important at reducing any fears mature students may be feeling about joining or going along to a taster. If you are taking steps towards making all students feel welcomed, then include this as part of your promotion. A simple note such as ‘We do our best to make students of all ages feel welcomed at our student group and we are happy to talk to you more about this’, can have a massive impact for students who are worried about their age preventing them from joining.

Postgraduate Students

Clubs and societies are open to everyone, but for some postgraduate students, they don’t feel as though they cater to them. There is significantly lower participation of postgraduate students in clubs and societies than the number at UEA. Postgraduate students are a diverse range of ages, so you may want to look at some of the guidance on mature students part of this booklet. Mature postgraduate students are anyone aged 25 and over when they start their PGT or PGR degree.

  • It is important to promote that your club or society is open for everyone on your webpage and through your social media. Specifically, talk about postgraduate students and their experience of your student group. You could do this by highlighting current postgraduate students through case studies or sharing quotes. This also applies to the imagery that you share on your social media and webpage, are you showcasing postgraduate students as part of this?
  • The move to fewer contact hours and greater independent study can be an isolating experience for many postgraduate students. Consider icebreaker tasks to integrate members. Everyone that has come along to your student group event or session is there because they have a shared interest.
  • Postgraduate term dates do not follow undergrad ones, consider if you could do some activities outside of undergraduate terms dates to welcome postgraduates and reduce isolation.
  • Do a poll on times and dates for events. This lets students know that you are considering their commitments when planning events.
  • Consider if you could add a postgraduate Students' Welfare Rep or a similar position on your committee. Alternatively, you could look to share an email address that postgraduate students can get in touch with if they have any questions.
  • Promote the benefits of a work-life balance and the importance of doing extracurricular activities at University.
  • Plan and run campaigns, awareness-raising events and activities for the benefit of postgraduate students.

Reducing Members Anxieties

For people looking at joining your club or society, taking that first step of coming to one of your sessions or events can be nerve-racking. Here are some steps that your club or society can do to reduce anxieties and support the integration of new members;

  • Provide the opportunity for students to meet in small groups before going to your main session or social event. This will help new students to get to know each other and encourage them to come to the event together.
  • Add photos of your committee members to your club or society webpage and for events link to this page to let members know who is leading the event. This allows new students to be able to put a face to a name.
  • Let people know as much information about the event as possible e.g. where are you going to meet, what they should expect from your session, what they need to bring etc. E.g. will they need to bring their own sports equipment, or will it be provided? What shoes do they need to wear?
  • It is important that your club or society part of the website is up to date and has adequate content on there about what happens at sessions.
  • Let people know what ability they need to come along e.g. all abilities welcome, those that have never played before are welcome.
  • If your event is in the Sportspark consider meeting people outside and let new students know how to get their card registered for the turnstiles.
  • Consider linking with buddy(su) to match your existing members with new members.
  • Give the opportunity for new members to chat with someone online before attending. You could look at spitting this responsibility across all committee members and some members.
  • Plan integration and icebreaker activity to support existing members and new member to have discussions.
  • Split committee and existing members up to speak with new members. Actively speak to new members and check in with individuals afterwards.
  • On your club or society webpage and social media, include what your student group stands for e.g. Inclusive of all students, friendly and welcome environment.

Template you may wish to use for promoting an inclusive session and reducing anxieties;

This event is organised by……You can contact…………. by emailing………………… If you would like to put a face to a name, you can see the committee member here……. (link to your club or society webpage) …... During the session this will happen…. You will need to bring…. Don’t worry if you haven’t done the activity before everyone is……. (friendly/welcome/beginners/all abilities). Most people that come along to these events do not know anyone else to begin with, but If you are feeling nervous about attending alone, please let us know by contacting the main lead for the event. We can arrange for some to talk or meet with you prior to give more details about the event and do our best to reduce any anxieties you may have about coming along. This event is (fully/partly) physically accessible for wheelchair users (please communicate if a part of it is not accessible e.g. the pit in the LCR). If you have any accessibility needs or would like further support to attend, please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate you. The committee looks forward to welcoming new and existing members to this event.

As a member it is important to think back to your session. How did you feel? Was there anything a member could have done to make you feel welcome and at ease?

Here are a couple of tips you can do as a member to help new members to the club or society feel welcome and continue attending;

  • Talk and engage with new members. Introduce yourself and ask them questions about themselves.
  • Try to not just talk with your usual friendship groups within the club or society.
  • Invite new members to chat or meet up before the next event.
  • Follow up and ask them how they found the session.

Students with Hearing Loss

  • Group calls and meetings can be tricky to see everyone and follow who is speaking and where to look. You could put people into smaller breakout rooms, don’t have too many participants or check that they understood and could lip read okay.
  • Microsoft teams CC option is very distracting and often not accurate. Often students would rather see the speaker so they know who is speaking.
  • Live sessions are high pressure to lip read accurately and in time, record them if you can.
  • Closed caption all videos.
  • Write it down, this could be via the chat box on a zoom call.

** Please adhere to uea(su) and government guidelines for any in person activity **

  • Face the person when you speak to them, don’t have your hands or objects like pens near your mouth or chewing gum/eating.
  • If they have unilateral deafness, stand on their ‘better’ ear hearing side.
  • With meetings, check that they are sat close enough to see your face and mouth. Try to be at eye level and sit down too.
  • Don’t walk and talk, try and sit down opposite each other.
  • Don’t talk to and write on the ‘board/wall’ at the same time. Write then talk. It’s hard enough to follow without not being able to see your mouth.
  • Don’t shout or over exaggerate the lip patterns. Screaming and yawning look the same. Ingroup chats, make it clear who is speaking so they can follow it. Don’t speak all at once and don’t whisper to each other because they will still be able to read/get it.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Loud bangs, claps, fireworks can be really startling especially for hearing aid users.
  • Be clear: especially with directions and point/gesture.
  • If you don’t understand- ask them to write it down or speak again.
  • Write it down- have pen and paper or notes app on your phone.
  • Don’t say ‘it doesn’t matter’ ‘I’ll tell you later’ ‘you’re not missing anything’ ‘its not important’.

If you would like to learn some basic British Sign Language, head over to UEA BSL youtube channel here.

You can download an infographic of the above information here.

Students with Physical and Invisible Disabilities

The nature of clubs and societies means that everyone is different, and the worries and barriers are therefore different too. This means that there is no one size fits all but doing something that encourages your club or society to examine the issues people may encounter specifically to your club or society is a good starting point.

  • Their own perceptions
  • The perceptions of others
  • Physical barriers
  • Lack of provision
  • Not wanting to “Put other out”
  • Confidence
  • DISPEL MYTHS – explain how people can participate if from the outside they may have assumed they wouldn’t be able to.
  • CONTACT – have a specific person a potential member can contact to discuss solutions for more specific accessibility enquires. With personal matters, people are often more receptive to a designated committee member rather than a general email. This could be a good role for your equality and diversity officer. Keep their disability confidential, as a student may trust you with the issue or need you to know to help them participate but they might not want all members knowing.
  • SHOWCASE DIVERSITY – make all students feel welcome to join by creating a promotion that showcases the diversity in your club or society.

The Union holds a £2500 grant pot to help student groups who would like to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of their society or club. You can find out more here.

There is a whole range of activities or events you could host that would help to make your student group more accessible and inclusive. Please see below for some ideas;

Adapting your current sessions, events or socials to be more accessible and inclusive e.g. Introducing a quieter part of your session for students that would benefit from more 1-2-1 support or may feel overwhelmed in large social settings.

Purchasing equipment that makes your activity more inclusive e.g. hearing loop (also known as an Induction loop).

Running a session, event or social that breaks down barriers to your activity for a specific target group e.g. family event on a weekend for those who have caring responsibilities alongside their studies.

COMMUNICATION – This is key. If you put on an event and there are barriers (e.g. part of the building is not wheelchair accessible) then clearly communicate this. Commute on your webpage and your social media that you can support all students to take part in your club or society activity, students just need to let you know how you can best do this. It is important to note that not everyone will feel comfortable revealing a disability, so if someone does it is important to reassure them and try to be accommodating with the activities you organise. If you are ever unsure of how best to do this, please get in touch with the SU, including the physical and invisible disability officers. If you are a club, your uea+sport coordinator is a good person to get in contact with.

DISABILITY IS ON A SPECTRUM – It is important to remember some conditions are a spectrum, with symptoms that vary from person to person. Therefore, do not presume you know exactly what one person’s needs are because you know someone with the same condition.

CLUB GOOD PRACTICE EXAMPLE – SUB AQUA – Sub aqua started a campaign called “I want to scuba dive, but…” This series of social media posts will pick common accessibility issues, groups that may be more apprehensive than others, common worries, and explain how the club makes sure that those things aren’t a problem for members. We’re starting with things like – I have a physical disability, I have an invisible disability, I have a mental health condition, I’m transgender, I’m worried about wearing swimwear, I can’t swim very well.

Some disabled people may use controversial language when talking about themselves. That’s their choice, but it doesn’t mean they’d be happy for you to use it. 

There are some words that many disabled people find hurtful or harsh because they: 

  • suggest disabled people are helpless 

  • are pitying 

  • are often used abusively. 

Here are some tips on language that most people prefer: 

You could say 

Never say 

Disabled person 

Disabled people 

The disabled 

Non-disabled person 

Non-disabled people 




Deaf person 

Deaf people 

The deaf 

Blind person 

Blind people 

The blind 


Person with Dwarfism 

People with Dwarfism 


Person with a learning difficulty 

People with learning difficulties 




Person with Down's Syndrome 

People with Down's Syndrome 


Person with Downs 

Challenges of mental health 

Mental patient 




A wheelchair user 

Wheelchair users 


Confined to a wheelchair 


Less common 


There are also some terms that people commonly used conversationally that have origins discriminating against disability- consider whether you would like to keep using these words after discovering they may cause upset to some... These include dumb, cretin, insane, maniac, psycho, moron, batty, daft, delusional, gimp, hysterical, imbecile, junkie, lame, thick