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Hovertravel March, 31 2022

Hovertravel awarded part of Government’s £1 Million accessibility grant

Hovertravel has been awardeda grant to improve accessibility for its customers. The grant launched lastOctober was aimed specifically at lifeline ferries and seaports serving theIsle of Wight and Isles of Scilly.

Neil  Chapman, managingdirector of Hovertravel, explains: “Our HoverCare initiative  has been ahuge success and we are just one of two transport companies in the country tohave been awarded Leader status in the government’s Inclusive Transport Scheme.We know, however, that we can always enhance and evolve. We also engaged withits stakeholders, including Isle Access and members of its user group (HUG), toincorporate their feedback on the bid items to be submitted.

We applied for a broadvariety of facility improvements, including a Changing Places toilet atSouthsea, an enhanced exit to the pad at Southsea, assistive technology for ourwebsite and a lift for our terminal at Ryde. We are also upgrading our hearingloops, the handrails on our hovercraft craft and have a stock of mobility aidsat each terminal. Several of these facilities have already been completed andnow open for our customers, with just two projects to be finished over thesummer. “

Hovertravel’s  SeniorManagement Team created a working group for the bid application process withinput from across the company; including engineers, operational staff, pilots,marketing, finance and HR. This group reviewed the complete journey experience,from researching online to booking, time spent in terminals and onboard andonward connections.

Robert Courts, MaritimeMinister, added: “This funding will tangibly improve access to this life-lineferry link, which is vital to keep communities linked with the mainland. We arecommitted to help people to travel with confidence as we continue to build backfrom the pandemic.”

Neil continues: “We aredelighted to have received this funding from the Government and their supportat all levels for supporting our accessibility initiative is greatlyappreciated.  I must also extend my personal gratitude to Isle Access,Euan’s Guide and the members of the HUG who contributed enormously to oursuccessful submission.

As with all our HoverCareinitiatives we will continue to be as open as possible about our accessibilityapproach, including ways to share best practice with other organisations,opportunities to spread awareness of the issues involved and how to showcasethe lessons learnt. “