A charity based in the South West has been awarded bronze in the ‘Access for All’ category at this year’s South West Tourism Excellence Awards.
Countryside Mobility was presented with the award at a black tie ceremony held at the Holiday Inn in Plymouth yesterday.
Run by charity Living Options Devon, the Countryside Mobility scheme helps to make some of the South West’s top tourist attractions and countryside locations accessible to people with limited mobility.
The scheme has already successfully sited all-terrain mobility scooters known as ‘Trampers’ and wheelchair accessible ‘Wheelyboats’ at more than 30 countryside locations across the South West for hire by members.
James Maben, Project Manager for Countryside Mobility, was thrilled with the result saying: “2013 was a great year for the scheme with a growth in the number of partner sites involved and record numbers of people benefiting from the service. Winning this prestigious award is a real stamp of approval from the tourism industry and the icing on the cake at the end of a bumper year. We are delighted to have received this recognition but even more pleased to be able to open up various locations to people with limited mobility. Our huge thanks go to all our partner sites whose enthusiasm and commitment have been key to the success of this scheme.”
Tracy Higgins from Bristol is an active user of Countryside Mobility’s Trampers and was delighted with the win, commenting: “I am thrilled to hear that the scheme has been recognised with this award. The positive impact it has on those struggling to access the countryside is considerable. As a member of the scheme and a regular user of the Trampers I have now been able to enjoy beautiful parts of the South West which before would have been completely out of bounds for me, whilst providing me with a new sense of adventure and independence.”
The South West Tourism Awards are hotly contested each year and this year was no exception with a total of 350 entries.
Small B&B’s through to large tourist attractions were put through their paces as the judges spent a total of 20 hours whittling down the entries to just 63 finalists over 16 categories.
Each finalist received either a Gold, Silver or Bronze award and 53 will now go forward to the Visit England Awards in May, Countryside Mobility included.
For further information regarding The Countryside Mobility Scheme please visit www.countrysidemobility.org.