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While Access to Work funding can make a huge difference to your career, qualifying for it, even when eligible, can take time.

Some artists find that they depend on what access support the funder is available to provide upfront - for example, to complete the grant application itself - while they are waiting for Access to Work to confirm other support.

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This means you may need to factor in additional access support in your budget, ahead of knowing the outcome of your Access to Work application.

All you can do is work with the situation as it is and follow up with your Access to Work application in order to avoid jeopardising your chances of receiving it now or in the future. This is because, if you receive support through Access to Work, the funds are restricted to your personal support costs, rather than those of the project.

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Other forms of access support for your team may come in the form of tweaks, amends, and flexibility - known as adjustments.

For example, arranging meeting times to suit a team member who has difficulty concentrating at particular times of the day, or using a tool for communication that is accessible for all team members. As with your project tracking tools, certain communication platforms such as Zoom, Slack, or Discord can provide alternative ways of meeting and sharing information that might be more accessible than relying exclusively on text-based systems such as email.

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Access support workers are people who take on the responsibilities and duties that present barriers to the disabled person working on the project, functioning as support for their role. 

What these duties are will depend on the disabled person's role in the project and the barriers they anticipate facing. The support worker will be selected for the job according to their skills and experience. 

For some areas, they may need certain qualifications or to have passed particular checks, particularly if their role entails any personal care or support. 

Other roles where the support worker might need specific skills include communication support, such as speech to text reporting or sign language interpretation.

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If the access needs of the team are known, then barriers can be identified through discussion, and adjustments and provisions put in place before the project gets underway.

The resources you need to do this may be external, like funding from Access to Work or elsewhere, but barriers might not always require funding to navigate, instead requiring a certain atmosphere or working relationship in order to best suit individual needs.

It can be useful for yourself and your team to keep a record of individual access needs through the creation of Access Riders. Don't forget that the focus is on what support they require in order to do their job.

Find out more about Access Riders

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It's important to remember that access needs can fluctuate. You should encourage honesty and openness while discussing the barriers you and your team face in order to best plan to support one another.

Some people may have had negative experiences when disclosing their access needs in the past, possibly because their needs were misunderstood or the information held against them. You should bear this in mind and ensure discussions around individual access needs are sensitively handled.

You will need to obtain their consent to hold personal information and keep it somewhere secure.