Accessible karting at The Experience
Accessibility has always been at the heart of everything we do at The Experience. That’s why we offer of Scotland’s only dedicated accessible go-karting programme. Individuals with additional support needs can enjoy the thrill of karting in one of our adapted karts including tandem, side-by-side, and hand controls. Each session is personalised to the individual and visitors have the option to be driven by one of our trained staff members or drive themselves.
We want go-karting to be open to as wide a group of people as possible, so we offer our accessible karting at a discounted rate of £10 per session. Exclusive use of the track is given which means you are free to go at your own pace. We asked our accessible karting coordinator Victoria some questions about the programme.
What is your role in the Accessible Karting programme?
The Accessible Karting programme is a small social enterprise within The Experience, run by myself and young people being trained in employability skills for social care and customer service. The programme gives individuals with disabilities and additional support needs the opportunity to experience go-karting, either by being trained to drive a kart or being driven by a trained member of staff. I make sure that all the young people working on the programme are skilled in driving the karts and they take a test to ensure they’re competent. As well as this, the young people are trained in using the hoist, and gain experience in working with people with disabilities. We also maintain the karts and these are checked every day.
What is your favourite part of working on the programme?
There are so many! Seeing the young people engage with our customers is great and gives them the chance to be responsible and compassionate. Seeing the customers have a great time doing something they might never have thought they could do is amazing, and it’s encouraging to get so many repeat customers – some come twice a week!
Tell us about the social element of the programme.
We have loads of regular customers. I know everyone by name, and I know their carers or family. For some customers, the programme is about socialising just as much as it is about karting. A lot of our customers like that there are other young people to interact with and sometimes we’ll have a juice together in the café before the session starts. We’re starting monthly coffee mornings soon so that will add a new social element for customers to meet each other and for new customers to come along and find out more about the programme.
What do customers enjoy most about accessible karting?
The social element probably, being able to catch up with staff and young people. They also love the speed of the go-karts and the whole sensory experience that comes with karting. I think customers also enjoy just coming into The Experience because they know the whole venue is accessible and that they’re included.
How do you personalise the experience to each individual?
A customer can decide if they want to drive themselves (if able) or if they want to be driven by trained staff. There are a range of different karts including side-by-side, tandem, and hand controls. They can choose who to drive them if they have a preferred driver, and if they want other people on the track to make it more like a race, our young people that work on the programme will join in – or they can have exclusive use of the track. Customers can also choose what music (if any) they want to be played on the track. Each experience is completely personalised.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to try accessible karting for the first time?
Just go for it! A lot of people have worries, but they’re in safe hands and the staff care and look after the customers. The Experience is the only place in Scotland that runs a dedicated programme and there’s nothing else like it. Regardless of an individual’s disability or support needs, I will try to find a way for them to have an enjoyable and comfortable karting experience. And they can always talk to me before going out on the track.