Eureka! in Halifax wins VisitEngland Access for All award
PUBLISHED: 14:06 23 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:50 24 October 2015
Joan Russell Photography
Halifax museum celebrates a glittering new tourism award
There’s always a warm welcome for all at Eureka!, the National Children’s Museum in Halifax – a fact that’s been recognised with a prestigious gold prize from the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015, the highest accolade in English tourism.
Eureka! topped the Access for All category for its faultless programme of inclusive facilities and services for disabled children and their families.
The winning team members collected their award at VisitEngland’s annual ceremony at the Sage in Gateshead, celebrating excellence across the tourism industry with 345 nominees across 18 categories.
Eureka!’s inclusion programme called, rather appropriately as it turns out, Access All Areas, offers services, activities and facilities for disabled visitors, including a Changing Places washroom facility, free Saturday and holiday clubs, and an innovative Extra Pair of Hands service, where disabled children and their families receive the support of a dedicated member of the Eureka! team during their visit.
The museum was previously awarded bronze at the VisitEngland Awards in 2013 and silver in 2014.
This year 75 finalists – 15 gold winners, 15 silver winners, 15 bronze winners and 30 highly commended – were selected from a total of 345 entries, representing tourism businesses across England. The winners were chosen by a panel of tourism industry experts and chaired by VisitEngland board member and chief executive of the Blenheim Estate in Oxfordshire John Hoy.
‘This award is a tremendous achievement and I’m incredibly proud of the whole team here at Eureka!,’ said chief executive Leigh-Anne Stradeski. ‘We’ve been working to develop our inclusive offering over the last three years, thanks to the support of a number of funders, particularly the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and SITA Trust.
‘We’re delighted to receive this award, pleased to showcase how inclusivity can be boosted by introducing small touches as well as large and, most importantly, proud to open our doors to more and more disabled visitors wanting a fun, friendly, playful day out.’
Offering her congratulations to the worthy winners, VisitEngland chairman Lady Cobham CBE added: ‘Our awards recognise the true champions of our industry, as well as the top quality visitor experiences we are fortunate to have on offer in England. The competition is of an increasingly high standard and so I offer my sincere congratulations to all our winners on this tremendous achievement, particularly the gold award winners for their exemplary contribution to tourism in this country.’ w