UK's most inclusive venues celebrated at Blue Badge Access Awards

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Blue Badge Access Awards

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 Manchester.

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 arms.”


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 to enjoy.”


“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:

- Purcell Architects, Norfolk County Hall for the Leonard Cheshire Award, Most Inclusive Venue/Organisation.

- The Bear Grylls Adventure for the Inst. of Hospitality Above & Beyond Award.

- Amy Francis-Smith, Chartered RIBA Architect for the Bespoke Hotels Award, Access Champion of The Year.

- Great Scotland Yard for the HEWI Award, Best Luxury Hotel.

- Shangri-La The Shard for the HEWI Award, Best Accessible Toilet.

- The Telegraph Hotel, Coventry for the ‘Liberty’ Award, Best Boutique Hotel.

- Warwick 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.

- Caroe Architecture for the Celia Thomas Prize, Conceptual Design for Disabled Guests.

Centaur Robotics for Inclusive Guest Innovation.



Paul Harvey
Written By
Paul Harvey
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.

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