Profiting through Accessible Tourism (2)

I think certainly as I get older one
of the things I realize is that we all have access issues in our own way and if we can improve access for
people with more visible problems then it actually improves the
quality of the visit for able-bodied people I think one of the
mistakes that people make when talking about access is
that they think it’s about people with some sort of physical disability and it’s not it
can often be things like children in buggies it
can be about the granny coming in just needing a seat half way around it can be about someone needing that extra little thought and that makes the attraction so
much more accessible for the whole extended family we try and
do something to make sure that everybody’s needs are catered for whether it it its special
cutlery in the canteen for people with
arthritis or I think one of the things that
people find particular interesting are our quiet days we did get a lot of feedback from
people with either visual impairments or audio
issues that it was a very noisy perhaps dark
environment so on these special days we turn the lights on bright we turn all of the soundtracks off we
have signers in and we find that that’s
particularly gratefully received I think doing the
access statement is absolutely vital first step and it
certainly did bring it home to us things that we still
needed to do but since then we’ve followed that up with an annual access audit where we we go around the building we
think about those tiny little things that we can still you can always make improvements I don’t
think you’ve ever finished this at Harlow Carr we try to make sure that everybody feels
welcome no matter what their ability say for example for people that have
potentially might have walking disabilities we make sure we’ve got plenty of
accessible parking we allow people to borrow our electric scooters which are
available free of charge and to make sure that all the pathways
are accessible for scooters and for manual wheelchairs as well of course
we’ve got ramps as well as steps so people can obviously access the garden via ramps if they
wish to and also we have staff on hand to help customers that
perhaps have disabilities and perhaps people want some extra help getting down some steps or perhaps they
want some extra information concerning cause they’re unable to see and so we have staff that are able to
answer questions and we do tours as well for people perhaps that just want that bit of extra guidance around the garden we decided to set up a self-catering holiday business due to the agricultural situation so we were
starting from completely from scratch wanting to
build log cabins so we looked at what the market was out there what was available only
you realize there was a massive gap in the market for accessible holidays and with those being designing from a blank sheet of paper we were able to
make the adaptations for wheelchair use and easy access
without too much difficulty we have a wide variety of clientele we cater for families with perhaps a child who’s in a wheelchair we
cater for families where they want to bring their
grandparents with them who may only have limited mobility we cater for care homes who wish to bring residents on holiday and we also
cater for anybody who wants to come and enjoy the countryside As an arts organization we want to get as many people in here to
see music as possible and before we built this new building
that was a problem it’s a no brainer in terms of customer service nowadays that
you have to pay attention to all customer needs and that includes people
with disabilities and if someone comes in with a guide dog may
want to leave them with us throughout the performance then they can and if someone requires a helper during
the performance and they don’t have a friend to bring we can provide them with a steward to sit with them throughout the performance sometimes if we have deaf patrons and they
want to see a show we can arrange a signer to come and sign
show for them so in an effort to be inclusive we I are very customer friendly

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