Isle of Wight tourism businesses work together to highlight accessibility

cycling projects wheelchair user bicycle

This Saturday (March 16) will see Hovertravel and Isle Access host two separate events for National Disabled Access Day.

The day seeks to highlight accessibility successes and encourage people with disabilities to try new venues and activities.

It comes at a time of increased awareness of accessibility across the Island, as Visit Isle of Wight encourages businesses to look at what they have to offer those with differing abilities.

Saturday’s event, between 10am and 3pm at the Island Riding Centre on Staplers Road in Newport, will be the first of it’s kind at the multi-million pound venue, recognised for going above and beyond to provide facilities for those with accessibility requirements.

They’ve teamed up with Isle Access and Isle of Wight Adventure Activities to demonstrate what is on offer on the Island for people of differing abilities.

Isle Access will be officially launching the Isle of Wight Wheels For All, giving people the opportunity to get out and about in a sustainable way.

Jan Brookes, director at Isle Access said:

‘As well as horse riding, climbing and archery, Isle Access will be officially launching as the Isle of Wight Wheels For All centre and cycling will also be available, and must be booked in advance. Thanks to the generous donations from the Island Roads Foundation, Wight Aid and the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, we will soon be in a position to start purchasing our own fleet of bikes.’

The Island Riding Centre will also be officially opening the Island’s first privately funded ‘Changing Places’ facility, a toilet that allows people with profound and multiple disabilities and other people who need to use them. These facilities have all the necessary equipment and space so disabled people and their carers can use the loo comfortably and safely.

Jan said:

‘Issues around accessibility and inclusion are continuing to be addressed on the Island and we welcome the news that the Island Riding Centre is opening a Changing Places facility in time for the event. This will allow more people to enjoy horse riding and other events being held at the centre.’

Hovertravel will be offering a ‘try before you buy’ day at their event in Ryde, giving passengers who require more assistance the opportunity to learn about the facilities at the Ryde based business, meet the ‘Hovercare Ambassadors’ and a free ticket for two people, issued with a Hovercare Card.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, said:

‘The hovercraft will be open for visitors at both Ryde on the Isle of Wight & Southsea in Portsmouth. It is also a great opportunity to share your experiences with our staff so we can further enhance our services, ensuring we are helping all to travel more easily.’

Richard Tyldsley, chair of the Accessibility Panel at Visit Isle of Wight said:

‘Accessibility has always been an important issue and we’re glad that Visit Isle of Wight is now able to help facilitate and increase awareness of the needs of everyone. ‘Events such as these can only help raise awareness and show everyone what can be done to make a huge difference to people with additional needs who are visiting the Isle of Wight. We couldn’t do this without the support of our friends at Isle Access and our transport partners, and recognition should also go to the Island Riding Centre and their investment in a ‘Changing Places’ facility at their attraction.’