WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, are delighted to have won Silver in the Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award category at the South West Tourism Awards.
Slimbridge applied for the Bristol Bath & Somerset Awards back in 2021 and won Gold in the Accessibility category in February 2022, this meant that the wetland centre went through to the South West Tourism Awards, where they claimed their Silver trophy.
The 2021/2022 South West Tourism Awards Ceremony took place on Thursday 7 April at Sandy Park in Exeter. The awards included a three course black tie dinner followed by the awards presentation, networking and dancing! In the Accessible and Inclusive category, Slimbridge were finalists alongside South West attractions – Leafy Fields Glamping, Mylor Sailing and Powerboat School and Stonehenge.
This was the first time Slimbridge had applied for the Bristol, Bath & Somerset Awards which led them through to the South West Tourism Awards and they were absolutely delighted to have reached the finals. Slimbridge were particularly excited to have won Silver at this time, as 2021 was an important year for the visitor attraction as it marked its 75th anniversary and saw the completion of its Slimbridge 75 project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Winning Silver in the Accessible and Inclusive category was a massive achievement for Slimbridge as all of WWT’s wetland centres exist to fulfil founder, Sir Peter Scott’s vision of connecting people with nature, and aim for their wetlands and wildlife to be accessible to everyone. The award recognises that Slimbridge provide a truly memorable visitor experience for everyone – particularly those with accessibility requirements, and demonstrate excellence across every aspect of their business.
Slimbridge provide enhanced facilities for everyone, with accessibility highlights including their wheelchair-friendly Wild Safaris for wider access to the 800 acre reserve, the accessible Estuary Tower Hide and the Summer Walkway and viewing platform, with access to the banks of the Severn Estuary.
Fran Penny, Visitor Experience Manager for Slimbridge explained:
“We are thrilled to have won Silver in the South West Tourism Awards, especially after such a milestone year for the centre. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this award without the amazing support of our staff, volunteers and all our members and visitors. We want to give everyone the opportunity to get closer to nature.”
Alongside winning this award, other exciting news has been announced for the visitor attraction; Stroud District Council have been successful in receiving funding for one Changing Places facility, which will be located at Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Changing Places are designed so that they are completely accessible and provide space and equipment for people who are not able to use a toilet independently. Slimbridge look forward to working with Stroud District Council in the coming months and having this new facility available for visitors to the centre.