Partisan aims to be inclusive and accessible to our community. This is an ideal that we’re still a long way from achieving — but it’s a core part of the project to be open about current access issues and the plans that we’re working on to remedy them. We want to be clear and accurate because we believe this is the best way to provide opportunities for our diverse community to be involved in shaping Partisan.
We are in the early stages of transforming the Grade II listed former synagogue that’s home to our collective. Unfortunately, due to the heritage restrictions and fundraising needs, this is a gradual process and in the meantime we are lacking basic facilities such as wheelchair access.
Firstly, we apologise for the delay in updating all of our social media channels of where we are up to currently regarding our accessibility movement.
Our architect, Albane Dulliver, has been finalising details in the accessibility designs and documents required in order for us to apply for planning permission and change of use for our building. We have been working hard with her to make sure that our required adaptations will significantly improve accessibility for anyone wanting to get involved with Partisan, as well as that they are safe and appropriate for the Grade II listed building.
The planning application includes a specific request for consent to change a listed building in order to improve mobility (including wheelchair) access, gender-neutral toilets, a new internal layout and the installation of elevators. From the very imminent date of submission, it is expected that the planning department will respond with an approval or non-approval between 4–16 weeks of the submission date.
As we’re in a listed building we cannot make any structural changes without first applying for permission. We’re working towards making the entire building wheelchair accessible, with a ramp, lift, and accessible, gender-neutral toilets, including a Changing Places level loo.
Partisan Access Fund is the name of the fundraising campaign that seeks to raise around £100,000 to pay for the accessibility adaptations for Partisan’s current home at the bottom of Cheetham Hill Road. The building adaptations will likely take place in stages, and therefore our funding applications are likely to mimic that pattern. However, Partisan recognises that there are a number of things that can be done in order to improve the accessibility of our building and of our activities in the meantime, and money raised through the Partisan Access Fund will pay for these as well. We welcome suggestions for improvements we can make to our accessibility while we wait for the major building works. Things we can do now include, for example, installing high visibility, non-slip nosing for our staircases, improving lighting and hosting more meetings in accessible locations alternative to Partisan.
The Partisan Access Fund has a new Facebook page as well as a fledgling Spacehive page for its campaign. We are actively seeking volunteers who would like to get involved in helping raise the funds that will enable Partisan to be a truly accessible community centre.
(Our plans will be made publicly available on our website very soon, with tech hold-ups on the website being the only thing delaying this!)
We have an Accessibility For Organisers page for anyone hosting an event with us. This includes what we require from organisers, an accessibility statement and advice.
Below are the current accessibility arrangements:
We are currently filming a ‘How to access Partisan’ video, which will complement the below descriptive information about the site.
Partisan is located across two floors of a three-storey building. The ground floor is occupied by the offices of other businesses. We have the basement and the first floor.
Physical access is currently limited for both floors; details and videos of doorways and staircases can be provided. There are currently no wheelchair ramps or lifts.
The basement has 11 steps from street level, without a handrail. The first floor has 22 steps from street level, with a handrail. There are 40 steps between the two floors.
Both of our floors have a large open central area with high ceilings. Each floor is equipped with suitable furniture, but the spaces are adaptable and can be easily split or sectioned off using the available sofas, tables and chairs, or making use of the pillars in the building as sectional structures. Seating is available on each floor at all events. For performances, a seated viewing area will be available.
None of the toilets are currently fully accessible. All of them involve steps. All toilets are gender-neutral and are located on both levels of the venue. On the first floor, these are single contained stalls. In the basement, there are stalls and urinals.
Assistance dogs are allowed at all times. Other well-behaved dogs are usually welcome, except in the performance rooms of loud music events. If you have a dog allergy/phobia let us know — we’ll do what we can.
For ticketed events, paying disabled people are eligible to a free additional ticket for a PA to accompany them.
Some of our access depends on the event. Alcohol is sometimes present across both floors — particularly for gigs and music nights, but not for things like meetings and workshops. Contact email@example.com if you would like details of a specific event.
Partisan aims to be a safer space. As such, harmful and discriminatory behaviour is not tolerated. As a cooperative, Partisan is democratically owned by its members, and is shaped by everybody through what we say and what we do. If you are challenged or feel threatened, speak to someone wearing a Partisan badge; they are there to help.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details on accessibility, or to assist with our fundraising campaign.
Contact email@example.com if you would like any other details, to comment on our plans or to deliver a related event or workshop. Join us as a member to support the Access and Accountability working group.