Accessible tourism conference comes to South Yorkshire

Gillian Scotford and Jane Cooper, co-founders of Access For All UK


A tourism conference will take place in the Dearne Valley next month to discuss the opportunities for improving access for disabled people.

The one-day ‘Dearne Valley Access Exchange’ conference will bring experts together from the tourism industry across the UK to discuss the opportunities for enhanced accessibility in the area.

The free event on Thursday 11 April is being co-hosted by training provider Access For All UK and The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP). It will take place at The Ironworks at Elsecar Heritage Centre in Barnsley from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

During the conference there will be a series of workshops where people can try out a range of products and services designed to improve accessibility. 


Guest speakers lined up for the event include Ross Calladine, head of business support at VisitEngland; John Child, managing director of the multi-award-winning Sandcastle Waterpark in Blackpool; Diane Howarth, joint owner and director of Cottage in the Dales, and Dan Smith, head of creative design at Motionspot Bathrooms.

Access For All UK, based in Derbyshire, aims to improve the lives of disabled people by providing access to consultancy, training, auditing and business support services. 

The organisation was founded in 2013 by friends and disability campaigners Gillian Scotford and Jane Cooper. Both Gillian and Jane have experience caring for their own disabled children. 

Gillian (pictured left) said: “Many people working in the tourism sector often say they want to help guests with access needs but feel unsure about what they need to do. This fabulous opportunity brings everyone together in one room and showcases great companies and services that improve accessibility. 

“We want everyone to reap the rewards of this huge market. If you own a cafe, pub, accommodation or attraction and work in tourism, leisure or hospitality then this is for you.

“Access For All UK has an ambition to create champions across the region and to help the tourism industry truly understand how to give a confident, wonderful welcome to all.”

The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Lyndon Firth-de Laci, community officer at the DVLP, said: “The impressive Ironworks building within the grounds of the historic Elsecar Heritage Centre visitor attraction provides the perfect space to host this exciting conference, which is all about sharing best practice for accessibility in the tourism industry.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people to share their ideas and to develop the next steps needed to enhance accessibility for people living in and visiting the Dearne Valley.”

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.