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East Midlands Chamber News

Free conference to help Peak business tap the full potential of the 'purple pound'


Time is fast running out for visitor economy businesses and services to book free places at a one-day conference featuring local and national experts in accessible tourism – now worth an annual £12bn to the English economy.


The second Derbyshire Access Exchange will be held at the Proact Stadium, Chesterfield on Wednesday 21 November to help the area’s business people and service providers make the most of the so-called ‘purple pound’.


Co-ordinated by Access for All UK, the consultancy arm of Accessible Derbyshire and supported by official tourist board Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the main aim is to create an even more accessible destination by:

  • Sharing best practice and top tips from national experts
  • Learning about accessibility projects across the Peak District and Derbyshire
  • Browsing and sampling products to improve accessibility
  • Finding out how accessibility can boost profits
  • Promoting and sharing accessibility projects, plans and marketing techniques
  • Meeting Accessible Derbyshire, the local charity that can help with funding
  • Improving confidence in welcoming people with access needs
  • Collaborating, creating new partnerships and celebrating success
  • Planning future action to improve accessibility


Key speakers will include Ross Calladine, Head of Business Support at national tourist board VisitEngland; Trizia Wells, Inclusion Manager at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum; Dan Smith, Head of Creative Design at Motionspot, offering insights into dementia-friendly design and Felicity and David Brown, owners of Hoe Grange Holidays, Brassington, who will share their advice and expertise on how to create accessible holiday accommodation.


The event will be held from 9.30am to 4.30pm, and a complimentary two-course lunch and refreshments are included. During the afternoon, there will be a series of workshop sessions, during which delegates will have the chance to experience the wide range of accessible facilities and services that are on the market.


“National research by VisitBritain reveals that one in five people in the UK have an impairment that might affect where they choose to stay and visit, and that domestic and international visitors spend more than £3.5bn on overnight tourism trips in England each year,” said Jo Dilley, Managing Director, Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire.


“It also reveals that visitors from this market are more likely to take longer trips, are generally very loyal to destinations that meet their needs, and also that an extra £117m a year could be generated from additional business if accessibility were improved.


“So not only is improving accessibility important to improve people’s overall experience, it’s obviously very good for business. We’re very pleased to support this event, which we hope will further enhance the Peak District and Derbyshire’s excellent reputation in this fast expanding field.”


Gillian Scotford, of Access for All UK and Accessible Derbyshire, added: “This is a brilliant opportunity for local businesses and services to learn more about how they can better appreciate and meet the needs of the 13 million people with disabilities in the UK – ranging from hearing, vision and mobility impairment to autism, learning difficulties and dementia.


“Last year’s event got things off to a great start. We are delighted that Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire is able to support it for a second time, and also to offer extra funding this year to enable us to offer four training days plus free audits, training and support to 30 small businesses in nine market towns. Their practical and financial commitment to helping to make life easier for people with disabilities is much appreciated.


“We hope as many people as possible will sign up for what promises to be an enjoyable, interesting and very positive day, and will then take advantage of the follow-up training and support that will be available in the New Year.”


Tickets for Derbyshire Access Exchange can now be booked on Eventbrite, at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/derbyshire-access-exchange-tickets-51583583888.


Tourist board-supported training days on improving accessibility and welcoming guests with access needs are scheduled for Wednesday 9 January at Chatsworth; Wednesday 16 January at Bolsover Castle; Wednesday 23 January at Thornbridge Hall, Ashford in the Water and Wednesday 30 January at Chatsworth. Full details will be posted at a later date at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/marketing-peak-district-amp-derbyshire-growing-and-developing-the-visitor-economy-within-derbyshire-9628168680.