South West heritage project to receive £5,000 prize and National Lottery Awards trophy from Silent Witness Star, Liz Carr, on BBC One.
The team behind a project which is helping 20 heritage destinations in the South West of England become more accessible to people with disabilities will be honoured as the nation’s favourite Heritage project at this year’s National Lottery Awards show broadcast on BBC One.
At 10:45pm on Wednesday 26 September, viewers will witness the Heritage Ability project run by the Living Options Devon charity win a £5,000 prize at the star-studded bash. The TV show, which is presented by Ore Oduba, will see Silent Witness star, Liz Carr, hand over a National Lottery Awards trophy to representatives from the project. Documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux, actors David Morissey and Michael Sheen, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Rebecca Addlington and former world boxing champion, David Haye, were amongst the host of famous faces in the audience.
The National Lottery Awards 2018 TV programme will also show a short film featuring a surprise visit to the project from Bridget Jones star, Sally Phillips. The film will showcase the inspirational work of Heritage Ability, which has used more than £500,000 of National Lottery funding and the unwavering support of over 320 volunteers to help 20 heritage destinations in the South West become more accessible over a three year period.
Heritage Ability has trained 700 heritage destination staff to improve disability and deaf awareness and make the South West’s heritage sites more accessible. These include Prior Park, the 18th century landscaped gardens in Bath, Moors Valley Country Park near Ringwood, Dorset, the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, Cornwall and the 18th Century Killerton House near Exeter. The project has provided all-terrain mobility scooters called Trampers at some sites; guided tours for British Sign Language users on electronic tablets; easy read and large print versions of literature; and creating a visual story for people with autism to prepare for their visit beforehand.
Living Options Devon will now be consulting with disabled, deaf and British Sign Language users to decide how best to spend their £5,000 prize money so the Heritage Ability project can further improve access to heritage sites.
Diana Crump, the Chief Executive Officer at Living Options Devon, said: “Heritage Ability builds on 27 years’ experience of supporting disabled people and deaf, British Sign Language users to access services more easily. It is changing our tourism industry for the better. We want to say a big thank you to everyone that has voted for us and supported the campaign – we couldn’t have done it without you.”
Heritage Ability Project Manager, Maryann Soper, said: “Accessibility means better visitor attractions, family experiences, inclusion and happier people! We’re working tirelessly across the South West and we hope that many more visitor destinations will want to follow our footsteps so we can make a more inclusive tourist industry for everyone.”
TV presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing Champion, Ore Oduba, added:
“The National Lottery Awards celebrate the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects as voted for by the public. It’s such an honour to be a part of a show which celebrates the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.
“Everyone who plays the National Lottery should be very proud to have supported these individuals and organisations – what they have achieved is truly amazing.”
There are seven categories in the National Lottery Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary/charity. Heritage Ability beat off six other challengers in a public vote to win the Best Heritage Project.
National Lottery players raise more than £30 million every week for projects across the UK. The National Lottery Awards recognise and celebrate the difference that Lottery-funded organisations, both large and small, make to local communities the length and breadth of the UK.
For more information go to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards . You can also follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards.