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Disability charity called on to audit hotel before para-athletes descend

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A disability charity in Yorkshire has been tasked with assessing a Harrogate hotel’s facilities before teams of disabled riders arrive for September’s UCI World Road Cycling Championships.

The hotel – which is nearing completion of a major £15m programme of investment by its owners, the Cairn Group – has called on Disability Action Yorkshire to undertake an accessibility audit.

The charity has already completed accessibility audits for a number of local organisations, including Harrogate Town Football Club.  

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Its ‘Think Access’ campaign – supported by Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council, MP Andrew Jones and Harrogate Chamber of Trade and organisations including Transdev – aims to make Harrogate a more accessible town for disabled people, which in turn will help boost the local economy.

During the nine-day UCI championships, cycling’s equivalent of the football world cup, The Majestic Hotel – which will become the town’s first DoubleTree by Hilton branded hotel this autumn – will play host to a number of para-cycling teams.

It wants to ensure it will be as accessible as possible for its disabled guests, in particular wheelchair users.

The hotel has already installed a wheelchair lift at the front entrance into reception, as well as creating a number of accessible bedrooms. It is also looking at refurbishing its service lift into an accessible lift, to aid those in large, powerchairs to reach bedrooms and conference rooms.

Matthew Hole, general manager of the Majestic Hotel, said: “This September we will be delighted to host para cycling teams from around the world, and we want their stay with us to be an amazing experience.

“Before their arrival, we are drawing on the expertise of Disability Action Yorkshire to carry out an accessibility audit which will enable us to ensure that we are ready to welcome all of our guests.

“In two months, Harrogate will be welcoming the world, but well before that we want our facilities to be welcoming to everyone, and this audit will be a great help for us to ensure we have identified all necessary areas.

Jackie Snape, Disability Action chief executive, said: “One of our key aspirations is for the Harrogate District to become fully inclusive, and we are delighted that the Majestic Hotel has made accessibility a key priority.

“And in order to achieve this, the Majestic Hotel has asked us to conduct an accessibility audit, which is one of our areas of expertise. We are being asked by a growing number of businesses to guide them on accessibility issues for staff and customers alike.

“The term ‘purple pound’ refers to the collective spending power of disabled people, and this is estimated to be worth about £249 billion to the UK economy.”

“Apart from being a legal duty, if businesses don’t make their products and services accessible to disabled people, they potentially risk losing a valuable income stream.”

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Joe Peskett

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