Travel & Tourism 2023

65 | Luxlife Magazine UK Accessible Accommodation Provider of the Year 2023 UK family-owned holiday company, Holistic Thinking Holidays Limited, provides affordable and truly accessible UK coastal holidays for wheelchair users and people with complex mobility challenges, for whom "wheelchair access" is just not enough. Many of us take for granted the luxury of being able to decide on a destination, jump online and be spoilt for choice with an array of options open to us for our vacations in the UK or overseas. Unfortunately, wheelchair users and people with complex mobility issues find themselves severely restricted by the lack of suitable accommodation, or a lack of understanding for their unique needs. For huge numbers of the disabled or elderly community the ability to take a holiday abroad is no longer an option without precision planning and communication. For these people even the thought of taking a trip to the seaside for a short break is too daunting to contemplate; the ability to be able to get on to a beach, feel the sand between their toes and dangle them in the sea, is a mere dream. When accommodation is listed as "Wheelchair Accessible", often you can expect just that! It will have level or ramped access and doors wide enough for a self-propelled wheelchair to get through. Where accommodation providers are catering for the clients’ disabilities, the cost of providing the equipment, and the spaces required to make them useable, either put them off, or, if they do take the plunge, these adaptations force them to charge rates that are beyond the reach of many families. Add to that the extortionate cost of holiday insurance for someone with complex health issues and you can't fail to recognise why many families don't feel able to have a proper holiday. Holistic Thinking Holidays Limited believe that EVERYONE should be able to take affordable family holidays, that are accessible to all, regardless of their complex needs, and are tackling this issue head on by: 1. Providing holiday homes with, or giving access to, equipment that meets as many of their mobility and complex needs as possible. 2. Locating them in holiday parks that have greater accessibility, including on to the beaches. All on site shops, entertainment venues, pubs and take away food outlets are fully accessible. They all either have on site, or are located close to, accessible swimming pools with hoisting facilities. 3. Multiple coastal locations, in different areas of the country keeping traveling times down, but also offering variety and choice. 4. Short breaks starting at £150 or even FREE for a family of up to 7. Claire Welsh is the brains behind the project, bringing over 30 years’ experience as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, 15 years as an Expert Witness and, more recently, as a Case Manager, where she has witnessed first-hand the struggles that families with extraordinary disability challenges face when they try to book a holiday. Then, husband Steve retired from a career in Electronic Manufacturing to manage the operations of Holistic Thinking Holidays in 2021. They bought their first standard wheelchair accessible holiday home at the end of 2019, at Caister on Sea Holiday Park in Norfolk. They added ramped access and full room coverage ceiling hoist to the master bedroom, along with a profiling bed. In the large wet room, they provided a shower commode chair and there is a mobile hoist for other transfers around the accommodation – as well as transfers into the beach wheelchair that was made available for exclusive use for their visitors. In the past 3 years they have added a further 3 accessible holiday homes on the coast, at Burnham on Sea Holiday Village in Somerset, Golden Palm Resort, Chapel St Leonards in Lincolnshire, and Oakfield Caravan Park, Towyn, in North Wales. New for the 2023 season, from the beginning of March there will be accommodation in West Sussex and Cornwall taking the fleet to 6. By 2022, they had provided more than 175 family holidays, more than 40 of which were offered FREE by working with charities and directly with families with a member who has higher level of care needs. Where more specialist equipment is required, they work directly with the families to arrange for the hire of equipment from local suppliers, or even purchase the equipment that can then be used by future guests. Holistic Thinking Holidays work directly with their guests from the initial enquiry right through to the time they return home, to ensure that their holiday is as stress free as possible, in a comfortable and homely environment, with facilities on hand to keep travel to a minimum on arrival at the resort. Uniquely, they are proud to offer a FULL cancellation refund policy, right up to the day of the holiday, as recognition of the families’ need for confidence when booking an accessible holiday, more than any other, without the inflated insurance cost. They wholly recognise that their guests can often not control when events might prevent them from taking that holiday. In addition, Holistic Thinking Holidays now also offer an accommodation management service for owners of similar UK properties as they press forward with their plans to make UK coastal holidays accessible to all. To view a video tour and photographs of each holiday home and site location, enquire about availability, or if you have accessible accommodation of your own that you feel could meet their model, visit their website or contact them directly for more information. Contact: Steve Welsh Email: [email protected] Company: Holistic Thinking Holidays Limited Web Address: