Brighton Pride sorry over lack of disabled access to Kylie’s show

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Brighton Pride has apologised after some disabled people were unable to watch Kylie Minogue’s performance.

It said its accessibility platform was at “full capacity” by the time its main act took to the stage on Saturday.

Jenny Skelton says her 22-year-old daughter Charlie – who has severe learning disabilities – was “crying inconsolably” when they were told to stay in a tent without a view of Kylie during her performance.

She says up to 20 people were involved.

Brighton Pride said the platform had a fixed capacity and access was on a “first come, first serve basis”.

“We had the correct wristbands and then we were told no,” Jenny tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“My issue is just simply that they didn’t have sufficient space for disabled people and that’s wrong.”

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Jenny Skelton

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Charlie Skelton missed most of Kylie’s performance after waiting for “months and months” to see her

Jenny says that most of the people kept in the tent left Pride before the end of Kylie’s performance because their only option was to remain where they were or join the crowd, where they didn’t feel safe.

But eventually – and after requests from those who remained – security staff were allowed to let disabled guests and their friends and family take empty spaces on a VIP viewing platform.

“Charlie was crying inconsolably for much of it,” says Jenny, “but then when we went onto the VIP area, in the end she loved it.

“She was dancing and she had an absolutely fantastic time, it’s just such a shame it was spoiled by waiting for an hour and a half trying to explain to her why she wouldn’t be able to see Kylie.”

Jenny says she had only had positive experiences at Brighton Pride, partly because of the involvement of Brighton and Hove community safety forum, who had in previous years helped with disabled access.

Jenny also shared a video of her experience on Twitter.

She was joined in the disabled tent with no view of Kylie by Liam Hackett and his mum, who’s an amputee, and gran, who uses a wheelchair.

“My grandma was recently given a terminal diagnosis with cancer and on her bucket list was to come to her first ever Pride. It really meant a lot to us,” Liam tells Newsbeat.

In a video posted on Twitter, he said around 10-15 people were left stuck in a tent without a view of the stage because there were no free seats on the platform.

Other people who were at the event also shared their “awful” experiences of disabled access at Brighton Pride on Twitter.

Brighton Pride said 275 people applied and used its range of access services at Preston Park – where the event was held.

It denies claims that any people were prevented from leaving the access tent.

Becky Stevens, head of operations said: “Our aim is that all Pride-goers are able to enjoy what Brighton Pride has to offer. We work hard with our provider Tiger Tea to create safe, accessible spaces throughout the festival.

“Over 100 people with accessibility requirements enjoyed the main stage shows on the accessible viewing platform, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We encouraged people with accessibility requirements to contact us after purchasing tickets, so that we could help to make their day as inclusive and enjoyable as possible.

“We are sorry if some Pride-goers were unable to be accommodated at the viewing platform later on Saturday night.”

But Liam wants a refund for the cost of tickets for himself, his mum and his gran.

“I think the statement Pride put out was absolutely ridiculous and I haven’t seen any ownership,” he says.

“I think Pride have made a lot of errors in this.”

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