A new project has been launched to create opportunities for people with disabilities and learning differences to benefit from free training and work placements, while helping Cornwall’s tourism sector become more accessible.

Access Cornwall CIC is an organisation that promotes hospitality businesses which actively welcome individuals with disabilities or learning differences through its website.

Access Cornwall aims to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone who has (or cares for someone with) special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) who is planning a holiday or a day out in Cornwall. It contains an online guide that spotlights the best places to stay, visit, and eat, and shares helpful information to help those with disabilities and learning differences to plan their trip.

Project participants will help the Cornish tourism sector welcome and support visitors who share similar challenges to themselves. During work placements, they will be trained in tasks which suit their interests and strengths ranging from writing reviews and taking photographers, to website editing to getting involved in digital marketing and social media for Access Cornwall.

“It’s particularly important to us that this service is not only built for the SEND community and their families, but that it is built by them,” said project director Viki Carpenter. “The website is already up and running and we’ve had lots of interest from visitor attractions, hotels, restaurants, and pubs who want to share information about how accessible they are, especially as they plan to open up again post-lockdown.

“But adding information to the website is a long-term project and we are very keen to get input from the experts – in this case that means individuals who live with their own challenges and who know exactly what businesses need to do to be truly accessible.”

The project has secured financial support from the European Social Fund, with the help of Community Led Local Development, and with matched funding from Cornwall Council.