Coronavirus: information and updates

Free and discounted events and activities with your friend or PA

Having a PA or friend with you can mean paying extra for events and activities. Here are some suggestions for finding discounts and saving money.

Warning Going out during coronavirus

Some events, attractions and venues have new rules because of coronavirus. Some places may even be closed because of local lockdowns. Check company websites for new coronavirus rules and updates.

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do (GOV.UK)

Finding free or discount companion tickets

Many venues, events and attractions offer free or discounted PA, carer or companion entry. You may need to prove you are disabled, for example by providing a copy of your disability benefits paperwork.

If the seating capacity for an event is very limited, venues may not offer free companion tickets.

Some attractions do offer discounts, special access or free carer entry but do not advertise this or the information is not easily available online. It’s worth contacting the company or asking on the day if they have companion ticket discounts or free entry.

Cinema and theatre

Most UK cinemas accept a CEA Card. This gives you free entry for 1 companion when you buy a cinema ticket. Check if you’re eligible and register for the card online or by post. It costs £6 for a year.

Apply for your card (CEA Card)

Check your local theatre website or contact them to find out if they offer a free or discounted ticket for companions of disabled people.

Accessible shows in London’s West End (London Theatre)

Accessible theatre and arts listings in Wales (Hynt)

Music

Many music festivals and larger venues offer free or discounted entry for a companion. For example:

Check venue or event websites for information on companion or PA tickets.

You could also contact venues to book a space in accessible viewing areas or ask about facilities.

10 top UK festivals offering disabled access (Music Festival News)

Sport

Many sports teams have companion or carer free entry schemes. How this works will differ from club to club. You might need to become a club member and prove you are disabled.

To find out what your team offers, and to research their accessible facilities, look on their website or search online ‘disabled supporters [your team]’.

Search for disabled football supporters clubs (Level Playing Field)

Historic buildings and gardens

The National Trust lets you bring 1 or 2 carers or companions for free. You can organise free entry on the day or get an Essential Companion card. The companion card is slightly easier. You simply show it when you arrive and your companion or PA will get free entry straight away. If you’re not a National Trust member, you’ll still need to pay for your own entry.

Access for everyone (National Trust)

Museums and galleries

Check websites for free or discounted companion tickets for paid exhibitions.

Top 20 accessible London attractions

Travel to events and activities

If you’re eligible for a Disabled Persons Railcard, you can get a third off the travel cost for you and your companion. The Disabled Persons Railcard website also includes discounted offers on attractions, accommodation and restaurants.

Disabled Persons Railcard

If you’re not eligible for the railcard, look for group travel discounts and off peak travel times.

Discounts and savings advice

You can find advice on saving money at:

Days out and travel (MoneySavingExpert)

How to save on driving and train journeys (Money Advice Service)

You could also bring a packed lunch or your own food and drink, if the venue allows. Check the rules in advance.

Accessibility of venues

You have a right to expect companies to do their best to provide equal access to events and activities, like cinema screenings, concerts and sports events. These rights are in the Equality Act 2010.

For leisure activities, equal access could include:

  • free entry for someone who’s supporting you
  • accessible seating
  • subtitles
  • access to audio-description

What is offered will depend on what reasonable adjustments the company can make and afford. You may find it helpful to talk to them about alternatives. For example, a discounted ticket for your companion rather than free entry.

If you’re being asked to pay more for accessible seating or tickets, this could be discrimination.

Disability discrimination by private and public service providers

Making a complaint

Some companies will have a formal procedure for commenting or complaining about any issues with disabled access. If they do not have a specific procedure, follow the general complaints process.

It can help to check what they say about venue or event accessibility on their website. If they claim they are accessible for certain access needs but you experienced barriers, it’s important to complain. They have promised something they did not provide.

You have a right to equal access to entertainment and leisure activities. You’re not ‘being awkward’ asking for accessibility.

Informal complaints

Social media can help you to raise awareness of problems with accessibility and extra costs of disabled people. It can also be effective in getting a quick response from a company. But make sure you raise the issue with them first. You should give companies a chance to fix the problem.

You could use social media to:

  • contact the company using Twitter or Facebook (the threat of bad publicity can make companies take action)
  • write about your personal experiences on a blog or in a letter to a newspaper
  • join other people experiencing similar problems and start a campaign

Read Scope’s blog post about how brands are listening to disabled people on social media.

You might also want to follow other disability campaigners on Twitter, such as:

Last reviewed by Scope on: 14/09/2020

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