The access training element of VisitEngland’s project ‘Access For All’ (co-funded by the European Commission) is now reaching conclusion. Access Unlimited, the collaborative partners of the face-to-face training element of the programme made up of Visits Unlimited, The Accessible Training Company and Access Solutions, are on the last leg of their England tour with six of the seven regions involved in the project now trained.
Katie Clarke of Visits Unlimited has led the training and has toured Lincoln, Birmingham, Nottingham, the Peak District, Brighton and yesterday, Kent. Businesses from hotels, Premier League football clubs, theatres and restaurants all came together to form regional ‘Accessible Destinations’ with the common aim to work together in understanding accessible tourism and becoming more accessible and appealing to all visitors.
Northumberland businesses make up the seventh ‘Accessible Destination’ to receive this training on the 10th June. Katie and Matt Riley will be delivering this final session and concluding this phase of the project.
A snapshot of feedback in Kent shows the power of face-to-face disability awareness training led by the people who live with or have a disability.
“The strongest point of the training was the personal insight and the stories.”
“ l learned today how important it is to make things as easy as possible for disabled visitors and their families.”
“The most important thing I have taken away with me today is to ask “What can I do for you?”
“Learning from first-hand experience is invaluable. Now I really, really understand that your experience starts way before you even get here.”
“Our welcoming is going to be even more welcoming.”
“I now have the confidence to ask the person what their access needs are and if there is anything I can do to meet those needs.”
“I am definitely going to make sure that we improve our website and I have learned today how important the pre-planning and information is.”
“Don’t pigeon-hole people. Ask the local community what it is they want.”
“ Now we have a greater understanding of what it takes to go through each day. It is my responsibility to make sure that the trip goes as good as it possibly can and is as relaxing and stress free as possible.
“I am going to make sure that our website is much more family-friendly with more pictures and imagery, better worded and more appealing.”
“I learned today that we are only a small part of the whole visitor experience and that the very tiny details are the things that can make a big difference.”
“You don’t need to spend a lot of money – it is much more than putting a lift in. It doesn’t have to be a huge outlay, increasing business and revenue can be achieved with a very small investment.”
The training modules covered in the one-day course was jam-packed with the latest information on Accessible Tourism, legislation found with the Equality Act 2010, customer service tips and action planning support – all delivered by inspirational trainers with personal insight and expertise on the subject.
Well done to The Accessible Training Company and Access Solutions for coming together with the team at Visits Unlimited and putting together an excellent course for the programme.
Huge thanks to Ross Caladine and Hannah at VisitEngland, Brian Seaman for all the prior work including access statement audits of the businesses signed up, each of the seven ‘Destination lead’ project managers and the businesses that have taken part.
Well done to Katie also. You will be able to reacquaint with your family again after the final session!