BHA Members named Disability Champions for Government

Three British Hospitality Association (BHA) members have been appointed disability sector champions by the Minister for Disabled People.

Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and BHA member, was appointed Hotels Disability Champion. Mr Sheppard will use his influential status as a leader in the industry to promote the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people. He was put forward for the role by the BHA’s Chief Executive, Ufi Ibrahim.

Bespoke Hotels has recently renovated the Chester Grosvenor and Hotel Gotham, Manchester to make bedrooms, bathrooms and disabled access rooms as seamless as possible. The company also sponsored The Bespoke Access Awards 2016/17 which invited entrants to re-imagine the welcome that hotels extend to guests with physical disabilities and learning difficulties to make the hotel experience more joyful and inclusive.

Michael Connolly, Regional Training and Standards Manager for OCS Ltd, another BHA Member, was appointed Disability Champion for Airports. OCS Ltd is an international facilities management company based in the UK.

Speaking about the appointments, BHA Chief Executive, Ufi Ibrahim, said: “The BHA has been leading efforts to make sure the hospitality and tourism industry is inclusive to all. It is fantastic to see these efforts rewarded with our members becoming industry champions for the Government. We will continue to work with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that our industry remains accessible for everyone.”

Speaking about his appointment Robin Sheppard said: ‘One of the lines you are currently unlikely to hear in a hotel reception is “Can I have an upgrade to a disabled suite please” why? Because they don’t exist. The good news is this clarion cry is being heard by Government and echoed by representatives from a wide array of key sectors - all passionate about improving recognition of, and respect for, the disabled community.’

Chris Veitch, Co-founder of Access New Business who spoke at last year’s annual BHA Summit was appointed Tourism Disability Champion.

The sector champions will amplify the voices of disabled customers and employees within their own industries, increasing accountability and challenging inequality. They will also highlight specific changes and improvements to make that will make a difference to the millions of people who often miss out.

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