Date: 
Monday, March 22, 2010 - 11:04

The Eden Project in Cornwall has today (March 22) won the Readers’ Choice award at the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards.

Eden was also highly commended in the Best Family Venue category. The ceremony took place at the Tate Britain in London.

TV presenter and adventure Ben Fogle, who hosted the awards ceremony, said: “I have been lucky enough to travel and have some amazing adventures over the years, but I have realised the most beautiful scenery and the most important history is here on our doorstep within hundreds of great UK attractions. Everyone, regardless of any disability or accessibility requirements, should be able to experience these great places of interest.

“The Accessible Britain Awards mark the achievements of attractions, however large or small, across the UK that have demonstrated considerable effort and creativity in providing inclusive experiences for disabled visitors. The Eden Project should be really proud of their achievement. Both the Awards and I hope to inspire more people to get about and discover more of the UK’s best sites.”

This is the first year Rough Guides have run the awards and the announcement has been scheduled to coincide with the third edition of the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, on whose cover Eden features.

The awards recognise best practice in providing accessible, inspirational and inclusive visitor attractions across the UK. Winning attractions are those which make an important and unique contribution to the travel and tourism industry as well as society, in particular, disabled visitors.

The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards comprises five categories – a Readers’ Choice award voted for online at www.accessibleguide.co.uk, Best Family, Best Active, Best Heritage and Best Free venue.

Eden has worked closely with the Sensory Trust, a national charity promoting equality of access for all people, regardless of age, disability or background, to find creative approaches to physical access and sharing information.

The partnership has, among other achievements, helped make the Eden Sessions summer gigs some of the most accessible in the world and has also seen Widgit Symbols, a visual language designed for people with learning disabilities that illustrates the meanings of words, rolled out across the Eden site and website.

George Dyson, Eden’s Volunteering Co-ordinator, who collected the award with Jess Collings, the project’s Volunteering Manager, said: “We try to make Eden accessible and enjoyable for everyone so it’s heartening to be recognised with this fantastic award.

“Many teams around Eden contribute to making the site accessible for everyone but we’d like to give special thanks to the excellent work of our access volunteers, who regularly go the extra mile to make sure visitors get the most from Eden. We’d also like to extend our gratitude to all the people who voted for us.

”We always strive to consider accessibility across all our operations, not just for day visits but also for special events such as the Eden Sessions. We get good feedback from visitors to our concerts about the considerations we make to enable them to have an enjoyable and comfortable experience.”

Other Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Award winners include Locomotion: National Railway Museum in Shildon, County Durham as the Best Free Venue. London’s Science Museum takes the award for Best Family Venue. Historic passenger steamship Brunel’s ss Great Britain is recognised as the Best Heritage Venue and the Best Active Venue award is taken by the Cairngorm Funicular Railway and Ski Centre.

The winners are united by their awareness and understanding of their visitors’ needs as well as their creativity and attention to detail in meeting those needs.

For more information on visiting Eden, including details on accessibility, see www.edenproject.com or call 01726 811911.

A full review of each winner – including details of how they achieved their accolade – will feature in the third edition of The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, due for publication in April 2010. The Guide, available free to Blue Badge holders, includes comprehensive details of over 180 inspirational days out for disabled people and their families.