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Gatwick welcomes 30 families for their accessibility day

London Gatwick welcomed 30 families to see the sights and hear the sounds of a busy airport in a safe, positive and fun environment on Saturday 6th April. The aim of Gatwick’s Accessibility Day is to help familiarise families who may find the airport experience overwhelming and need extra support with their airport journey – before they actually travel.

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The families were able to board an aeroplane, experience security procedures and even have a refreshment in the V-Room – Virgin Atlantic’s exclusive lounge-as part of their tour of Gatwick.

Additionally, the guests were invited to see Gatwick’s extensive facilities for passengers with a disability – both physical and hidden. This included a chance to see the Gatwick sensory room – a UK airport first – which gives families respite from what can be a busy and overwhelming environment for some travellers with specific needs.

Employees from British Airways, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and TUI were on hand throughout the day and helped answer questions from the families to explain more about how the airport works.

Sara Marchant, Accessibility Officer, London Gatwick, said:

“I am delighted that we hosted a successful accessibility event. It was great to see so many families take part and engage so enthusiastically.

“We aim to be the UK’s most accessible airport, and we hope it showed everyone how much focus we put on being an airport for every traveller. We have a range of facilities and well-trained staff to help any passenger who may have a disability or simply require any kind of additional assistance and support.”

Education

Two hundred local pupils attend Eco summit at Crawley school

The Gatwick sponsored ‘Eco, Young, and Engaged’ (EYE) conference saw eight local schools and 200 pupils from Crawley and Horsham attend Ifield Community College on Monday to get a practical understanding of the environment and the importance of sustainability.

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Aged between six and seventeen, pupils chose between 13 workshops where they could learn about making their own compost and the wildlife within it, and about the effect that different clothing materials have on the environment and therefore which ones are more sustainable to buy and wear.

Other workshops included practical team challenges on how to upcycle (reuse) everyday items – such as using old milk bottles as planters for herbs – and how to harness the power of both wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity.

The conference is part of the wider EYE campaign which seeks to bring schools in West Sussex together to focus on the importance of caring for our planet – to promote sustainability and encourage young people’s interest in environmental issues.

Gatwick’s Head of Sustainability, Rachel Thompson, gave an introductory talk on what sustainability is and its importance for protecting the environment.  She also discussed Gatwick’s ‘Decade of Change’ report, which tracks the airport’s progress on ten sustainability targets set over a ten year period (2010 to 2020), and explained how Gatwick’s buildings and fleet are carbon neutral.

The sponsorship of the conference is part of Gatwick’s wider community engagement programme which aims to make lasting and positive impacts to local communities and young people. Gatwick is also partnering with 15 local schools as part of the Primary Engineer programme to help schools teach STEM-based subjects in a more relatable and practical way to inspire more students to study the subjects.

Rachel Thompson, Head of Sustainability, Gatwick Airport said:

“It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students and hear their excellent questions and ideas. We hope today’s event will inspire more eco school projects and also encourage more students to consider studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and pursuing careers in sustainability.”

Irram Ali, Ifield Community College Eco Lead, said:

“It was an honour to have been able to host the first Eco-Summit in Crawley. At Ifield Community College we are focused on encouraging our students to proactively engage with environmental issues and this was an excellent opportunity for such engagement to take place. All students were passionate and enthused and will hopefully implement some of their new knowledge in our local schools and community.”

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