South East England Aims To Be UK's Most Accessible Region
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In keeping with the South East of England's unique heritage as the birthplace of disability sport, which began some 60 years ago at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, Tourism South East is leading on several ground breaking projects and aiming to be the UK’s most accessible region.
In keeping with the South East’s unique heritage as the birthplace of disability sport, which began some 60 years ago at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, Tourism South East is leading on several ground breaking projects and aiming to be the UK’s most accessible region.
For Tourism South East, improving facilities, service and welcome for people with disabilities is a top priority. With the Regional Development Agency, SEEDA, it has developed a special programme of ‘Accessibility Audits’ and other activities to kick-start this process in key destinations.
Brighton, Windsor, Winchester and towns across the whole of Buckinghamshire have already been audited with Kent the next on the list. The Access Audits are the foundations for change for destinations who want to make a real difference to disabled visitors and residents.
An independent assessor makes a very thorough assessment of facilities and services and Tourism South East then works closely with the destination on ways to improve accessibility and welcome.
This process is vital to making life easier, not just for people who are wheelchair users or those with hearing and sight impairments, but also the elderly, those with learning difficulties and people with small children in buggies and prams.
Tourism South East is also working with Accentuate to provide advice and guidance for industry members on how to become more accessible and offers discounted ‘Welcome All’ training for front line staff.
Paralympic Games are a Wake-up call
Tourism South East’s Chair, John Williams, who has himself become an Accessibility Ambassador for the region explains
"Hosting the Paralympic Games in 2012 provides a wake-up call to tourism businesses in the South East. This is not just an obligation but an opportunity to provide a genuine welcome to all visitors. We will be working very closely with the Accentuate project and our industry partners to make the South East a really great place for all to visit –and we’ll be looking well beyond 2012 to deliver a lasting legacy for the region."
TOURISM 1212 GAMES
Find out more about how the UK tourism industry is preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games at the VisitBritain campaign website, Tourism 1212 Games