Sunny con is a popular anime convention that takes place in the North East of England. This year it was held at St. James Park in Newcastle.
Entrance to the venue was on the flat through double doors that were kept open. Disabled parking was offered at the venue as well as discounted tickets for carers.
The venue had good access to all floors via lifts, although if of a nervous disposition the lift to the last two floors is a glass elevator. Toilets where located on each floor and no radar key needed to access them. All where clean and spacious but although baby changing facilities where on offer there appeared to be no adult changing facilities.
There was a good atmosphere and a steady stream of visitors although not as busy as previous years, but this could have just been due to the fact that it was spread over multiple floors instead of one.
Plenty of stalls to tempt you to part with your money with all tables easy to access if you were in a wheelchair. However there where some tight corners which would cause issues for maneuvering in a wheelchair, but overall no other problems. They had card gaming tables and unfortunately with where they were and the art stalls where placed, there was not enough room for someone in a wheelchair to get around this area.
The actors that were present for autographs where on a stage and the lift to access this was a distance from the stage and the que and was not signposted either.
The talks were held in various locations with no with no designated wheelchair space, but enough space at the end of the rows for a wheelchair. Again it would be nice to see events like this become totally inclusive with sign language for the talks etc. The photoshoot area was off to the side of one of the talks which was a little distracting and awkward not to mention a distraction when a talk was taking place, as the ques for the photo shoot encroached on the talks. This meant it was difficult to hear the talk sometimes due to the hubbub of chatter and excitement from the photo shoot Que.
Signage to indicate where talks, shoots and autographs where taking place also seemed to be lacking. Add to this the lack of staff visibility due to no high Vis vests, staff badges not on show or any sign of some kind of “uniform”. This made trying to ask for help extremely difficult and frustrating. Even when staff was found to ask for help they appeared more interested in talking to their friends then actually helping and did not have answers to a lot of my questions and seemed unsure of where or what was going on at times with the guests.