The Blue Badge Access Awards, which took place last night at The Langham London, has created a pivotal moment in international design by celebrating and championing thoughtful accessible design…
Last night, the inaugural Blue Badge Access Awards were held at The Langham London with the support of charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Thirteen winners were awarded on the basis of celebrating thoughtful and stylish inclusive design and business practices across the world.
This year’s winners included Shakespeare’s Globe as the most Inclusive Employer and Sea Containers for Best Hotel, sponsored by HEWI.
The evening included a comedy set by British stand-up comedian, writer, actor, presenter, and disability-rights campaigner, Laurence Clark. Laurence was born with cerebral palsy and uses his line of work to alter the general public’s perceptions of disabled people. Alongside this, an inclusive fashion show was put on by Samanta Bullock, founder of SB. SB is an online department store that provides comfortable and fashionable universally-designed clothes with the focus on inclusion and benefiting the seated position.
The 2019 judging panel included Fiona Jarvis, CEO of Blue Badge Style; Tina Norden, Partner at Conran and Partners; Alex Taylor, BBC Journalist; Paul Vaughan, Bespoke Access; Neil Heslop, CEO, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Karen Fewell, daughter of Arnold Fewell.
“Nowhere can be 100 per cent accessible but everyone can start somewhere,” said Fiona Jarvis, Founder of Blue Badge Style. “There is tremendous public interest in the area of accessible design, with a strong desire to honour and recognise businesses that go the extra mile for their customers. We are delighted to champion these venues with Blue Badge Access Awards and will continue to do so to amplify enthusiasm across the hospitality sector, as well as wider tourist attractions, museums, and public organisations.”
“Awards like this are profoundly important because they shine a light on best practice”, added Neil Heslop, Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability. “Leonard Cheshire exists to improve life choices for people with disabilities globally, and accessibility is key to this. We work with cross-sector organisations every day in supporting individuals to live, learn and work independently, whatever their disability. We congratulate everyone who has been involved to date and hope many more join in, having been inspired by tonight’s winners.”
“We are thrilled to unveil so many exemplary winners at the first Blue Badge Access Awards and celebrate the great work of designers and architects around the world in inclusive design” said Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People. “It is important to make access a permanent addition to the agenda. No one would have dreamed that sustainability would be as high as a priority as it is now, and we want access to be just lionised in the future.”
The Blue Badge Access Awards are here to accelerate progress, and highlight that the importance of inclusive design should not be underestimated. It gives businesses and venues access to a market of over 1 billion people across the world, a group of more than 13 million people in the UK alone with spending power of over £250 billion.
Main image credit: Blue Badge Access Awards