The Trust Access Policy
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village (Port Sunlight Village Trust)
1. Mission statement
The Trust's mission is to:
Preserve and Maintain the Port Sunlight Conservation Area its character, amenities, architectural and constructional heritage of buildings and open spaces or otherwise that are of beauty, architectural or constructional interest:
Promote understanding of the ideas underlying the foundation and development of the Port Sunlight Conservation Area, their social and economic context and their relevance to issues in the modern world.
2. Commitment to access:
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village is committed to providing the greatest possible access to our collections, properties, public gardens, facilities and public programmes for the education, research, enjoyment and benefit of all.
This policy outlines our approach to access and seeks to address the needs of existing and potential visitors, users, staff and volunteers. We aim to remove as many physical, intellectual, cultural, emotional and financial barriers to access as is practicable within the limits of budgetary, legal, conservation, security and planning considerations.
This policy has been written in conjunction with our Equality & Diversity Policy and in line with the Equality Act 2010. It will be reviewed every three years by the Trust’s Governing Body.
3. Access Assessments and Action Plan
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village undertakes periodic access audits and maintains an access action plan that sets out the work required to improve access to our collections, properties, facilities and public programmes by removing barriers which have been identified by both the audit and feedback from visitors, users, staff and volunteers. Implementation of the action plan will be monitored regularly by the Trust’s Governing Body.
4. Consultation and audiences
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village is committed to developing and widening its audiences. We regularly consult and evaluate our facilities and programmes with users to ensure our services meet their needs. We also consult with non-users to identify barriers to participation. We strive to balance the needs of visitors who wish to access the village and its stories and attractions with the need to maintain and enhance access for those who live and work in the village.
5. Community and Outreach
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village is committed to engaging with the local community in order to develop its links to new and existing audiences which it achieves through working in partnership with community groups and educational organisations. We maintain an outreach service for those who are unable to participate in our programmes, including loan boxes for schools and care homes. We also provide a wide range of volunteering opportunities and seek to recruit new volunteers from diverse backgrounds. The recruitment and management of volunteers is set out in the Volunteer Policy for Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village.
6. Buildings and Public Gardens
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village comprises a range of properties, facilities and open spaces in the Trust’s ownership, including:
1. Eight public buildings and nearly 300 houses and apartments
2. The parks and gardens of Port Sunlight
3. Port Sunlight Museum, including an exhibitions experience, gift shop, and tea room
4. The Old School Room at the Lyceum for school workshops, events, and available for private hire
5. Three staff accommodation areas: Main Trust office; Greendale Road Office; and Landscape depot
6. Collections Study Centre for collection storage and historical research
We are committed to providing full access to all areas of our buildings, facilities and public gardens. There are some limitations due to the physical constraints of listed buildings, and the gradients of slopes and pavements in the village some of which are under the ownership of Wirral Borough Council and will be identified in their Access Policy.
Information for potential visitors and users of our properties, facilities and public gardens explaining opening times, services and access is available on leaflets, by telephone, via email, social media, and our website.
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village is committed to increasing access to the collections and increasing knowledge and understanding of Port Sunlight’s unique history and heritage. We will provide access to the collections in a variety of ways including permanent exhibitions, temporary displays, loans to other museums and galleries, object handling sessions, multi-media tours, trails and guided walks, lectures, family activities, and other events and initiatives. Curatorial staff are available on weekdays during opening hours to answer questions about the collections and to help identify objects brought in by the public. Research facilities are available, and staff will also answer research queries in accordance with the terms stated on our website.
Collection items in storage are available to view by appointment. The research facility and collections store are based at the Greendale Road office and there is limited access for wheelchair users. However, alternative arrangements can be made to provide access to most objects in the collection and reference library. Our collections are also being continually updated and developed to better reflect the diversity of the village and community, from foundation in 1888 to present day.
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village takes the needs of residents, visitors and users into account when preparing and presenting all information. In particular, we aim to provide levels of information and interpretation to suit a range of audiences and abilities. We will ensure that all information and communications (including newsletters, tenant handbooks, leaflets, labels, and website) follow good practice and recognised guidelines for text and style. Information on displays will be provided in a range of formats including labels, graphic panels, large print, film, interactive and audio, as resources allow. We aim to keep residents and visitors informed of our collections, exhibitions, events and Trust news through appropriate publicity and marketing including social media. Images and /or descriptions used will reflect the diversity of the community we serve. The Trust’s website has accessibility features including user defined text, size and colours and the ability to be viewed on any mobile platform.
9. Learning and public programmes
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village will provide public and learning programmes that are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of specific groups and audiences. Educational and supporting materials will be made available for different audiences and abilities, as required and as resources allow. Temporary exhibitions, events and activities will be programmed throughout the year for people with a wide range of abilities.
We encourage people to play a full part in our public programmes including loaning items for display, contributing oral history recordings, exhibition ideas and research, and tour guiding.
10. Customer care
All staff and volunteers are responsible for implementing this policy, and assisting and welcoming our visitors and users. All visitors and users will be treated with equal respect within an inclusive atmosphere and welcomed according to their individual needs. We are committed to providing a safe environment for all. We have a plan at each of our venues for the safe evacuation of our visitors, users, staff and volunteers in an emergency. There is a policy and procedures in place for safe-guarding children and vulnerable adults.
At Port Sunlight Museum, the Trust’s main office, and the Lyceum we provide external and internal signage to suit a range of needs, and respond to requests made by visitors and residents to provide information in alternative formats, as resources allow. We provide visitor facilities to meet our customers’ needs including a shop and tea room. Baby-changing facilities, access and parking for pushchairs and seating for the comfort and ease of visitors and users are also provided. Wheelchair users may move freely around the buildings and access between floors at the museum and Trust office is by lift. The museum has two wheelchairs for visitors to use, at no charge. There are toilet facilities for disabled visitors and users at Port Sunlight Museum and at the Lyceum.
11. Staff, volunteers and training
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village is an equal opportunities employer. All people will receive equal opportunities in recruitment, employment and training. The organisation is committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce.
Staff and volunteers receive training in areas of awareness and equality legislation appropriate to their roles and needs. They will also receive training in disability awareness, including addressing the needs of visitors and users with specific requirements and assisting those with disabilities during emergency evacuation. The training needs of individuals will be identified during induction and through the annual appraisal process.
Port Sunlight Museum & Garden Village charges for some events, carrying out historical research, admission to the museum, education visits and workshops, and hiring the Lyceum venue for private events. All income received is put back into conserving and promoting the village. Regular free open days are held at the museum, and discounts and incentives are widely available for both residents and visitors using the museum, shop and tea room, and hiring the Lyceum.