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Gatwick’s Accessibility Day helps to make the airport ‘a less scary place’ for those with hidden disabilities

Currently around 19% of the UK population have a disability and 11% a hidden disability. As much as 7% of the UK population is thought to avoid air travel because of a disability.

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Photo: Tony Pick Photography

Airports can be challenging, confusing environments and more than 40 local families with a family member who has a hidden disability – and their carers – attended Gatwick on Sunday (8 April) for an event designed to make airports feel like ‘a less scary place’.

Held in the North Terminal, Gatwick’s Accessibility Day helped to familiarise people with a hidden disability – and their families and carers – with the sights and sounds of an airport so they have a practical overview of airport processes before they travel.

To simulate the airport environment Sunday’s event included:

• Staff from airlines – Virgin Atlantic and TUI – taking families through the check in process
• Gatwick’s Special Assistance Services team, Wilson James, providing buggy rides
• Gatwick staff taking families through the security process in a fun and relaxed way
• Border Force officials introducing some of their search dogs
• Police officers and a fire engine were also on hand to replicate the entire airport experience

Currently around 19% of the UK population have a disability and 11% a hidden disability. As much as 7% of the UK population is thought to avoid air travel because of a disability.

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Gatwick is aiming to be the most accessible airport in the UK and is currently engaging with a broad range of disability groups to help ensure that the airport makes its services accessible for everyone.

Nikki Barton, Head of Terminals, Gatwick Airport, said:

“Our Accessibility Days have proved very popular and I would like to thank all those who gave up their Sunday to make it happen. Feedback suggests that families find these events a very useful and practical way of making the airport feel like a less scary place before they travel.

“Events like this are also a great way of hearing about what our passengers find useful or would like to see at Gatwick to make their journey more pleasant and less stressful. We know that we will not get it right all of the time, but we are determined to keep talking to disability groups and passengers to encourage more feedback and develop new learning mechanisms to help us constantly improve our accessibility services, facilities and training.”

Maria Cook, Gatwick’s Autism Ambassador, said:

“I would like to thank everyone from organisations across the airport who volunteered their free time to be part of our latest Accessibility Day.

“I am extremely proud to be involved in events like these and to have played a part helping Gatwick to become the first UK airport to be accredited as Autism Friendly and retain its accreditation for the second year running. An important part of the accreditation processes was introducing a Hidden Disability Lanyard and it’s extremely encouraging to hear that airports from across the world are contacting Gatwick for information to help them introduce the lanyard schemes of their own.”

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British Airways Run Gatwick gets another huge boost as Colin Jackson announces his support

Legendary British athlete Colin Jackson will be attending the event on Sunday 13th May 2018

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The organisers of British Airways Run Gatwick have announced that legendary British athlete Colin Jackson will be attending the event on Sunday 13th May 2018.

The Welsh former sprinting and hurdling athlete, who during his career became a world champion, Commonwealth champion, Olympic silver medallist and world record holder, will be showing his support for runners at the very first British Airways Run Gatwick whilst acting as an ambassador for Flying Start, the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief.

Colin is now an immensely popular face in the world of broadcasting, covering all major sporting events for the BBC, and his presence at British Airways Run Gatwick next month will be of great motivation to the thousands of runners set to take on the International Half Marathon, 5K, Corporate 5K and Family Run.

This exciting new event takes place on fully-closed routes through the parks, towns and beautiful West Sussex countryside around Gatwick Airport, with a first-class event village at Crawley’s Southgate Park. The choice of four race distances means that runners of all ages and abilities are being encouraged to get active and enjoy the experience of a big sporting event, and the whole day is expected to be an inspirational day of sport and achievement.

British Airways Flying Start is the National Charity Partner for British Airways Run Gatwick. 100% of the money raised by Flying Start goes directly to Comic Relief, enabling British Airways to help give children in the communities it flies to the chance of a brighter future. So far the charity has raised almost £18 million.

Colin Jackson has always worked closely with Sport Relief and in promoting confidence and activity through sport, making him the perfect ambassador for Flying Start. It is hoped that with his support, many runners will be inspired to #RunGatwick for Flying Start and help to transform thousands of children’s lives in the UK and in some of the poorest countries in the world.

Anyone wishing to run and raise money for Flying Start should email info@rungatwick.com directly. Full information on running for charity is available at www.rungatwick.com/charities-2018/

Race Director Dave Kelly added, “We are thrilled to announce that Colin Jackson will be joining us at the inaugural British Airways Run Gatwick next month. His incredible running achievements and current broadcasting roles make him an inspiring role model for runners of all ages, and we hope that many runners will be encouraged to run at our highly anticipated event this May. For many people, running at such a high-profile event is an ideal opportunity to raise money for a good cause, and Flying Start is an extremely worthy charity reaching out to children all over the world. Places are still available for British Airways Run Gatwick and we are very much looking forward to welcoming runners of all abilities to this exciting new road race next month!”

British Airways Flying Start is the National Charity Partner for British Airways Run Gatwick. The Local Charity Partners for the 2018 event are Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance, Carers Support, Neurokinex Kids, Crawley Open House and St Catherine’s Hospice.

The 2018 British Airways Run Gatwick takes place on Sunday 13th May and entries are open to all races. Entry costs £36 for the International Half Marathon and £25 for the 5K or Corporate 5K. The Ambra Corporate VIP Area is available for an additional £12 per person. Entry to the Family Run costs £12 for children aged 4-15 years, and £1 for accompanying adults.

Go to www.rungatwick.com for further details and to sign up.

You can also like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/rungatwick and follow @rungatwick #rungatwick on Twitter for all the latest news.

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