The UK’s most inclusive
venues, organisations and individuals have been celebrated at an awards ceremony in Manchester.
The Blue Badge Access
Awards, which promotes
exceptional venues comprising thoughtful, design-led accessibility, rewarded
those that have gone above and beyond in their mission to achieve inclusivity
for all, at the Hotel Brooklyn
Winners of the 11 awards, which
received sponsors from established businesses such as HEWI, IoH, WelcoMe,
Bespoke Hotels and ANON Drinks, included Purcell Architects, Norfolk
County Hall, who
received the Leonard Cheshire Award for Most Inclusive Venue/Organisation, The
Bear Grylls Adventure,
who scooped the Institute of Hospitality Above & Beyond Award and The
Telegraph Hotel, Coventry, who achieved the ‘Liberty’ Award for the Best Boutique Hotel.
Furthermore, winners of the Celia Thomas Prize,
Conceptual Design for Disabled Guests, Caroe Architecture and Inclusive Guest Innovation, Centaur
Robotics, took home
a share of a prize fund of £20,000.
The event was compèred by Mik Scarlet, a
broadcaster, actor and musician who is widely considered one of the most
influential disabled people in the UK, and garnered support from names including the Baroness of Winchester Celia Thomas, Lord Borwick and TV
personality Sophie Morgan.
Live inclusive entertainment was enjoyed by all,
with guests also being encouraged to delve into the drinks and
canapes served up throughout the evening.
Discussing the event, Fiona Jarvis, chair of
judges and founder of Blue Badge Style, said: “The Blue Badge Access Awards give
recognition to businesses and establishments that have addressed accessibility
imaginatively and thoughtfully, which is what every hotel and hospitality venue
should be striving to achieve.
“We couldn’t believe the high standard of
applications we received this year and are delighted to see that the
hospitality sector is beginning to welcome stylish accessibility with open
Robin Sheppard, co-founder of the Blue Badge
Access Awards and president of Bespoke Hotels, added: “Fiona and I have made it our mission to
advocate for inclusivity in the hospitality sector. It is crucial to make the
hotel experience more joyful and inclusive for both disabled and non-disabled
guests, designing and creating a place of beauty and practicality for everyone
“Although we recognise the
hospitality sector still has a long way to go, we were delighted to gather together
for an evening and pay homage to like-minded individuals who have produced or
constructed an offering that strives to promote equality for all.”
Winners were picked by a panel of
judges including Robin Sheppard (Chairman, Bespoke Hotels Group), Fiona Jarvis
(CEO Blue Badge Style Ltd), Tina Norden (Director Conran and Partners), Jane
Duncan (President Past RIBA), Michael Vermeersch (Accessibility Product
Marketing Manager at Microsoft), Steve Ingham (CEO Page Group), Kellie Rixon
MBE FIH (Chair Institute of Hospitality), Poppy Szaybo (Senior Inclusion and
Diversity Adviser, Historic England) and Paul Vaughan (Bespoke Hotels).
The full list of winners included:
Architects, Norfolk County Hall for the Leonard Cheshire Award, Most Inclusive Venue/Organisation.
Bear Grylls Adventure for the Inst. of Hospitality Above & Beyond Award.
Francis-Smith, Chartered RIBA Architect for the Bespoke Hotels Award, Access Champion of
- Great Scotland Yard for the HEWI Award, Best Luxury Hotel.
The Shard for the
HEWI Award, Best Accessible Toilet.
- The Telegraph Hotel, Coventry for the ‘Liberty’ Award, Best Boutique Hotel.
Castle for the
Historic England Best Venue in an Historic Building.
- 8 at
The Londoner for the
Blue Badge Style Award, Best Bar.
- Fischer’s for the Conran Award, Best Restaurant.
Architecture for the
Celia Thomas Prize, Conceptual Design for Disabled Guests.
Inclusive Guest Innovation.
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.