A new cinema advert aimed at raising audience awareness of the availability of subtitled and audio described screenings at UK cinemas will hit the big screen this month.

UK cinemas have a strong record in making their sites accessible to people with disabilities. By the end of 2008, almost 300 UK cinema sites had facilities to provide both subtitled and audio described films for people with hearing or sight problems respectively. And the number of subtitled film screenings per month now stands at around 2,000, with more than 700 films now available in accessible formats.

But despite this provision, it seems clear that levels of awareness of such screenings remain low. The new ad – produced by Creative Mwldan with the support of a range of cinema industry interests – is an attempt to address that, and is aimed as much at the friends and family of those with such disabilities and the disabled customers themselves.

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how UK cinema is improving accessibility for customers with disabilities.

Looking forward to the new ad campaign, CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

‘I am hugely grateful to industry colleagues for all of their support in bringing this advert to the screen. We very much hope that it will encourage a large number of customers with disabilities to recognise that the cinema is for them as much as it is for any other member of the public.’

Welcoming this initiative, Lesley-Anne Alexander, Chief Executive of the Royal National Institute of Blind People said:

‘RNIB welcomes the launch of the cinema access advertisement as part of the continued efforts of the UK film and cinema industry to promote and increase access to films and cinemas for blind and partially sighted people. We look forward to continue working with them on this journey.’

Jo Campion, Head of Campaigns at the National Deaf Children’s Society commented:

‘Every deaf child has the right to the same opportunities as a hearing child, and that includes being able to enjoy going to the cinema to see the latest films. The National Deaf Children’s Society welcomes the new cinema advert and hopes it will lead to greater awareness of the availability and importance of subtitled films for deaf children and young people.’

Derek Brandon, editor of yourlocalcinema.com – the industry-sponsored website and information service for ‘accessible’ cinema – added:

‘This new advert will be viewed by thousands of people every week nationwide. Many people know someone with a hearing or sight problem and we hope that people who see the ad will inform others, creating awareness of the world-leading ‘access’ services provided by more than 300 UK cinemas.’