Congratulations must go to the Roman Baths in Bath and to the Calvert Trust in Exmoor for winning the Gold Award for Access and Inclusivity at the South West Tourism Awards (UK). The Roman Baths also won the prestigious Winner of Winners award. The awards were presented at a ceremony at Exeter Cathedral on February 4 (2016). The Roman Baths is one of the finest historic sites in Northern Europe, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. Run by the Heritage Services section of Bath & North East Somerset Council, it attracts around one million visitors a year – making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in the United Kingdom. In 2011 the Roman Baths completed a £5.5 million redevelopment to transform its accessibility, bring the best of modern interpretation to the site, and preserve it for the next 100 years. This is the first phase of an on-going programme of development that will continue over the next seven years.
The Roman Baths were recognised for its efforts to welcome all types of visitors and particular praise was given to the British Sign Language (BSL) trained staff, BSL audio tours, large print leaflets, use of braille on exhibits and online information for people with claustrophobia. The provision for wheelchair users was also praised, including the availability of wheelchairs for visitors to borrow, lowered ticket office counters and accessible toilets. The assessors also noted the high level of training for all staff.
Bath Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Roman Baths constantly strives to improve accessibility for all visitors and local people. “There have been many efforts made to ensure the historic site can be enjoyed by everyone, including staff training, information provision, and improvements to the building, such as the recent addition of new lifts. We are delighted that these efforts have been recognised with both of these South West Tourism Awards. They are a testament to the fantastic customer service that the staff provides.”
The Calvert Trust Exmoor runs the only 5 star activity centre in the country, and caters for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities of all ages and levels of ability, together with their families, friends and carers. Activities on offer include sailing, horse riding, wheelchair abseiling, accessible cycling and archery. Almost 4,000 guests had a residential break with Calvert Trust Exmoor last year.
Tony Potter, Chief Executive of Calvert Trust Exmoor said “This (the award) is fantastic news that rewards all the hard work that the team at Calvert Trust Exmoor consistently put in; we are so pleased to be recognised for delivering an excellent experience for anyone and everyone, of any ability or age.”
The Roman Baths and the Calvert Trust have also been shortlisted for the Access for All Tourism Award in Visit England‘s Awards for Excellence, winners for which will be announced on Tuesday, March 8.
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