Newcastle’s Life Science Centre took the top spot in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award category at the North East Tourism Awards.
The award, which was presented at a ceremony in Newcastle’s Civic Centre, recognised Life’s commitment to creating an accessible and inclusive environment for all visitors, regardless of their abilities.
Judges were impressed by the range of physical changes in the centre, including a Changing Places toilet, hearing loops and noise-suppressing flooring, for autistic people and those with other sensory needs.
They also noted Life’s longstanding partnership with the North East Autism Society (NEAS) which began in 2018. Changes that have resulted from the partnership include a visual story to help visitors prepare for the experience in advance, Relaxed Sundays – dedicated quiet time for anyone with sensory needs and sensory bags, containing a range of tools including ear defenders and sunglasses.
Life takes accessibility and inclusion very seriously. It was evident that this is part of the Life culture from top to bottom. Great store is put in learning directly from visitors and partnerships with other key organisations such as North East Autism Society, and in implementing such advice.”
Linda Conlon, Chief Executive at Life said, “We’ve invested extensively in staff training and our team has worked hard to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy the science centre and have a memorable and inspiring experience.
“We know it’s been a challenging time for many families. As well as improving accessibility on site, we’ve also introduced free and discounted ticketing for specific groups and expanded our partnerships with local authorities to provide free visits and a nutritious meal to those most in need.”
The North East Tourism Awards celebrate the best in tourism across the region, showcasing businesses and organisations that go above and beyond to provide exceptional experiences for visitors.
The Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award category specifically recognises those who make significant efforts to accommodate and welcome visitors with disabilities and additional needs, ensuring they have an enjoyable and comfortable experience.