At the end of November, Countryside Mobility received the exciting news that the scheme was a finalist in the Access for All category of the 2013/14 South West Tourism Excellence Awards.
The scheme, aimed at helping people with limited mobility to explore and enjoy outdoor visitor attractions was established in 2010 by Devon charity Living Options Devon, and now supports over 30 south west visitor attractions with its innovative mobility scooter hire service. Since the scheme started, almost 2000 people who have difficulty walking have benefited from the service.
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards are the ‘official’ tourism awards for the region, offering entry to businesses in Somerset, Bath, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly as well as linking closely with the awards in Cornwall and Devon and the new awards scheme in Dorset. They also form the regional heat of the national VisitEngland awards, to which eligible winners will now progress.
James Maben, Countryside Mobility Project Manager said: “2013 has been a great year for the scheme with record numbers of people benefiting from the service and the number of partner sites involved steadily growing. The news we have won this prestigious award is the icing on the cake and to us is a real stamp of approval from the tourism industry.”
Sponsor support meant entry into the Awards was free, with 16 categories to choose from ranging from pubs, restaurants, hotels, events, attractions, activities, holiday parks and self catering holidays to awards for customer service, access, sustainable tourism and business tourism. Up to four finalists have been announced in each category, but Countryside Mobility will have to wait until 30th January to learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Awards Ceremony, to be hosted for the first time at the Holiday Inn in Plymouth.
This year’s judging was the tightest ever, with winners separated by fractions in their mystery shop scores and requiring lengthy debates amongst the Judging Panels, which met for a total of over 20 hours. For more information and for a list of all finalists visit: http://www.southwesttourismawards.org.uk/