Free disability awareness course for local traders

Press Release: 14/12/2009

Winchester City Centre retailers are being offered a FREE one day disability awareness training course, Welcome All, on Wednesday 24 February 2010 at the Winchester Business Centre in Parchment Street.


Winchester City Council’s tourism service recently commissioned a Destination Access Audit of Winchester City Centre with the support of Tourism South East, the regional tourism agency, and funding from the South East England Development Agency. The audit was designed to build a picture of the ‘Winchester experience’ from the perspective of visitors with a range of disabilities.  The consultants tested out the rail station, buses, taxis, car parks, public toilets, shops, eateries, hotels and the Shopmobility service.  They also looked for information on websites and in printed brochures which would help someone with a disability to plan a comfortable visit to the city.


The City Council is now working with other organisations to implement the report’s recommendations, so that Winchester is ready to ‘Welcome the World’ in time for the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic games.  The disability awareness training for retailers is one of the many actions stemming from the report.


The Welcome All training course has been organised by Winchester City Council with support from the Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) and Tourism South East.  It will be tailored to the needs of local retailers, to help them provide a real welcome for customers with special needs and requirements.


The course is part of the Welcome to Excellence range of customer care courses provided by Tourism South East and recognised nationally by the tourism industry.  It covers a range of sensory, mobility and learning difficulties; giving retailers the skills they need to communicate more effectively with their customers.


Retailers will learn how to provide a warm welcome to disabled visitors, boost sales and the reputation of their organisation, offer a first class service to customers with specific needs, and identify their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act.


Alison Woods, Winchester City Council’s Tourist information Centre Manager said: “Tourism businesses, including Winchester Tourist Information Centre, have all found the course extremely useful.  It showed us that there are many simple adjustments we can make which will enhance accessibility for all our customers.”


Cllr Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport, added:

“As a council, we are committed to making the most of the many and varied opportunities which the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games can bring.  I am delighted that we are using the magic of 2012 to improve services for those with disabilities, which I know will also benefit a wide range of other residents including parents with prams and older people.”


For further information visit or contact Alison Woods at Winchester Tourist Information Centre on 01962 840 500 or email


Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  To book your place, simply contact Stephanie Pook at Tourism South East on tel: 02380 625 438 or email