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Access & Inclusion Schemes

Access & Inclusion Schemes



SHiNE Bursary Scheme

Our SHiNE Bursary Fund supports individuals of all ages to take part in creative art activities at The Octagon & Westlands, who might not be able to afford the opportunity otherwise.

We want to make sure that everyone in our community can access opportunities to be creative. That’s why we’ve created The SHiNE Bursary Fund, offering discounted or free places to attend a participation class or workshop being hosted by The Octagon & Westlands, Yeovil.

The SHiNE Bursary will be awarded to anyone on low income, Free School Meals or Pupil Premium, looking to participate in classes and workshops hosted by The Octagon Theatre & Westlands Entertainment Venue. The SHiNE Bursary Fund can help to cover 50% or 100% of the cost of your class fees each term, depending on the level of help you require.

For more information on the SHiNE Bursary Fund, eligibility and how to apply, Discover More here.

Octagon Buddies Scheme

Our Octagon Buddies scheme is aimed at making everyone’s visit to our venues both enjoyable and supported.  The Octagon Buddies scheme is open to anyone that is looking for a companion or buddy to attend shows and events with at our venues. 

The scheme is open to everyone, but might be particularly useful for:

  • Individuals experiencing anxiety about attending the theatre alone.
  • Older people and socially isolated patrons.
  • Individuals of ethnically diverse backgrounds that may not have previously had the opportunity to attend a theatre performance.
  • Disabled people with physical or learning difficulties, who could use some support to attend show and events.

Our Octagon Buddies will…

  • Meet you at the entrance to the venue.
  • Help you collect your tickets from the Box Office and come with you to buy refreshments from the Bar.
  • Guide you to your seat and sit with you during the show.
  • Be there to chat with you before the show, during the interval and after the show too.
  • Help you find the toilets.
  • Stay with you until you've been collected or are safely on your way home.
  • Generally make sure you're comfortable during your visit.

For more information on how to become an Octagon Buddy or how to request a Buddy to attend a show with you, Discover More here.

Octagon & Westlands Inclusion Group

The Octagon & Westlands Inclusion Group is our chance to hear directly from disabled, D/deaf or neurodivergent people who would like the chance to talk to us about barriers they have experienced when attending cultural events and venues and what works well for them.

The Octagon & Westlands Inclusion Group enables disabled people and those with lived experience to be at the very heart of our organisation and its development. We want to understand what we already do well so we can continue to do it well and to hear about how we can improve our organisation to better support individuals with access needs or any disability.

Members have the opportunity to shape and influence our offer from our accessing our venues to the opportunities we present across the county.

The Octagon & Westlands Inclusion Group meets a total of 3 times each year and is always open for new members to join at any time. Meetings either take place in person at our venues or online, depending on member preferences.

At the meetings we look to identify areas where there is a lack of cultural provision and/or access for people with disabilities in Somerset, personal and lived experiences (good and bad) of attending or participating in arts and cultural events, and what experiences members would love to see happen locally. Plus, updates to discuss the progress we’ve made and reflect on the experiences people have had since.

If you are interested in becoming a member of The Octagon & Westlands Inclusion Group you can find out more here.

Accessible Pricing Scheme

We are currently developing and looking to launch an Accessible Pricing Scheme to enable people from low-income households the opportunity to attend shows  at no or heavily discounted cost with a subsidised ticket scheme.

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