Thursday, 26 May 2022
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Thursday, 26 May 2022

Helmsley Walled Garden: Our new project

Tricia Harris Assistant Garden Manager and Marketing and Communications Manager writes

A new year and a new project to get the organisation’s collective teeth into. 

We are working with Visit England, The North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA) and Access for All UK on a project to create and promote a high-quality accessible tourism itinerary for the North York Moors.

It’s part of Visit Britain’s wider Tourism Recovery Plan to make the UK the most accessible tourist destination in Europe and we are delighted to be part of the pilot project.

Working closely with Tourism for All, we had an accessibility audit in December, a training programme for our kiosk volunteers is underway, I’ve got an experienced professional accessibility mentor assigned. We’ll be taking a look at the accessibility information on our website to see how that can be improved. 

Visit England is developing plans for paid marketing activity to the inbound market (in this instance Germany and the Netherlands) alongside promotion domestically.

This project is a real fit with our values as an organisation and as a visitor destination. Who doesn’t benefit from time spent in a glorious green space? But it is also playing a small part in making the UK more accessible to people with disabilities.

The thing that has given me pause for thought so far was what in my head constituted a family group. If you’d asked me prior to this what such a group would consist of I would of course have said it was so much more than mum, dad and 2.4 kids. 

In truth, I had not given this question the thought it really deserved. Someone involved in the project told me her family group was one parent with cancer, one parent in law with dementia and an adult son with disabilities. They also said what a great day out they could have at Helmsley Walled Garden and how much it could be improved further with just a few small changes costing little or nothing.

That one conversation has revolutionised my thinking. As a tourism destination, we are really missing a trick if we don’t expand our thinking on visitor groups. As an organisation that has wellness and the promotion of wellbeing for all at its heart, we should walk the walk and really mean for all.

I’ll let you know how we get on.

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