Accessibility really does matter – and that was proved when a local project working with Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust (TCCT) to open up Cockington for disabled and deaf people, were told it had won a National Lottery Award for Heritage.
Heritage Ability beat over 700 other projects, voted for by the public, to make the short list of 7 other lottery funded heritage projects from across the UK. Whilst filming with the BBC for the prestigious London ceremony, with TCCT staff at Cockington Country Park, they learned of their win as actress Sally Phillips and a plane flying a banner with the exciting announcement revealed the news to the surprised team on the ground.
Delivered by disability charity Living Options, Heritage Ability is a small project making big strides in the accessibility movement. It is working with heritage and countryside sites such as Cockington Country Park to deliver many accessible solutions including an all-terrain mobility scooter, a British Sign Language video tour and an accessible guide.
Over 19% of the UK’s population have a disability. Yet every day, disabled people encounter barriers that many of us take for granted.
Hannah Worthington, Cockington Green Heart Access Officer for TCCT said:
“Visits to local attractions like Cockington are not always possible for those with disabilities. Working with Heritage Ability has given us the chance to open up this fantastic green space in the heart of Torbay for many more people. We are delighted that the team have been recognised for their contribution with this national award. It has been a privilege to be one of the 20 sites across the South West to be a part of this brilliant project”.
Maryann Soper, Heritage Ability Project Manager said:
“Accessibility means better visitor attractions, family experiences, inclusion and happier people! We’re working tirelessly across the South West and we hope that many more visitor destinations will want to follow in the Trust’s footsteps in making a more inclusive tourist industry for everyone.”
The ceremony took place on Friday 21st September and will be televised on BBC One on Wednesday 26th September. Here is the Heritage Ability team at the awards celebrating their massive achievement with Ore Oduba, TV presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing star and Liz Carr from Silent Witness who presented the team with the award on the night!