It seems a long time ago but The Blue Badge Access Awards were presented at a glittering event on 7th Oct 2019 at Michel Roux’s restaurant, Landau, at The Langham Hotel, London.
The evening included a glamorous & inclusive fashion show from Samanta Bullock (follow the link for her shop) as well as a brilliant comedy set by Lawrence Clark (see his work here) who also happens to have cerebral palsy. Most of the comedy was at the expense of well meaning able bodied public, a refreshing and sometimes shocking change!
However the most important part of the evening were the awards, represented as trophies depicting a figure with an imperceptible /invisible disability – a prosthetic blade.
So who were the winners and why did they win? They represented the best in accessibility and design across the globe and included an Aquarium, A Heritage Coal Mine, A Rooftop Bar and a Football Club.
Blue Badge Access Award Winners
(Arnold Fewell Award)
The well known aquarium and tourist attraction in Hull was awarded Most Inclusive venue by the Fewell family because
‘They have considered all areas of disability from ……..The Social Story tool for young guests to plan their day …to the Changing Places facility …. freely available mobility equipment, support for charities for hidden disabilities & the Safe Place Scheme. They also continue to strive to do more to make The Deep an enjoyable place for all’
Located in South Hamm Devon and The Lake District, at the moment. They provide ‘FLEXIBLY ADAPTED GLAMPING PODS & CABINS TO SUIT GUESTS WITH AND WITHOUT DISABILITIES’
People’s Choice Winner, Voted for by the Public Supported by Euan’s Guide
We reviewed their venue previously and nominated as Best Boutique Accomodation in 2017 they finally won this year because they’ve done their utmost to make their accomodation stylish & accessible to all.
A venue with over 20 wheelchair spaces and accommodating all disabilities – sensory, loss of sight and loss of hearing.
Above + Beyond
‘for her diligence and attention to detail in making a wedding experience as inclusive as possible for a couple who both have cerebral palsy.’
Best Hotel (Upmarket) Sponsored by HEWI Accessible Bathrooms
Loved by BBS for its inclusive style and luxury with removable grab rails in their accessible rooms. In addition their ‘spa therapy team receive annual training in chronic pain therapy and Wellness for Cancer so all treatments can be adapted for guests.’
Best Boutique Hotel
Who have flat access everywhere in a Grade II Listed Building. They have an accessible room adjoining a carer room with roll in shower and accept assistance dogs. Their event space also has an accessible toilet and flat access.
Best Bar (Upmarket)
Nominated for it’s accessibility in an old converted warehouse that is The Museum of Catalonia Barcelona
Best Bar (Budget)
A small independent cafe and co-working space in Brixton that accommodates all and in a small space has bothered to add an accessible toilet even though it didn’t have to!!
Best Restaurant (Budget)
Won because their food is excellent plus the venue is accessible via a lift, with flat access throughout and a well equipped disabled toilet. Created by Pip Lacey (known for her time at Michelin starred Murano and Great British Menu 2017) and Gordy Mcintyre from the Conran restaurant group, with backing from Murano chef-owner Angela Hartnett.
Leonard Cheshire Award – Inclusive Employment
We’ve eulogised about accessibility of Shakespeare’s Globe in the past and they won this award due to this heartfelt nomination from a regular visitor who happens to be blind,
“After losing my sight they gave me back Shakespeare through their amazing audio described touch tours & performances… But what changed my life was the welcome I received………from Front of House to the actors……The profoundly human encounters that first visit redeemed me after a disabling two years of sight loss, related unemployment and extreme poverty. They simply saw me as myself and in that moment helped me to see me as my true self again. …(I’m) guaranteed to be welcome and never feel disabled or visually impaired.”
Nominated for their ‘Accessibility Party for Guide Dogs’, the provision of safe-place & employment of people with mental health conditions.
Historic England – Listed Building
Once the largest pit village in the world, Ashington is now home to Woodhorn Museum – a former working coal pit with a proud and dramatic industrial past. Nominated for the accessibility of a historic monument to the coal mining industry, Grade II Listed yet accessible. See their access statement. Here’s their nomination citation
“Within the listed Colliery buildings, there are ramps available for all visitors to access the buildings. One building, Winding House No2, has been opened up to allow visitors to see the last Winding Engine from the ground floor. The Winding Engine is on the second floor.There are hearing loops throughout the site and transcripts are available for the interactive exhibitions. Video displays have subtitles available. They have started to offer BSL tours for exhibitions. They also offer relaxed opening sessions for their big events such as Festive Tales and Ice Skating. There are plenty of disabled access parking spaces available and if visitors are in need of a wheelchair, Woodhorn offer 2 wheelchairs and a mobility scooter. Inside the Cutter Building, there is a ramp that allows access between the ground floor level and the upper ground floor level. All of their staff are trained in disability awareness.”
Best accessible toilet
Best Loo was won by Mere restaurant, the most coveted of the evening. The need for good accessible toilets was highlighted with laughter at this video from the IT Crowd TV series.….
Ludicrous Loo or Worst Accessible Toilet
Won by BeachSide Grill, Saunton, Devon. These images tell you why and if they need explaining don’t fill a disabled toilet with cleaning materials and please add more than one grab rail. The retracting rail is for transfers from wheelchair and needs to be positioned away from the wall. This win was also picked up by The iNews.
If you want someone or somewhere to win a Blue Badge Access Award 2020/21 go to the website and nominate from 14 April 2020.