I was honoured to meet HRH The Duke of Kent on Tuesday 7th February 2017 when he visited our innovative accessible entrance lift provider, Sesame Access Systems Ltd. The visit was to celebrate Sesame Access winning The Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2016. The Duke unveiled a specially commissioned plaque to commemorate the visit, and was accompanied by HM Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux.
The visit was attended by The Mayor of Woking, Cllr Anne Murray, a Chartered Engineer and who has particular interests in technology and innovation. In addition, Sesame’s valued Clients and partners attended the event. I was honoured to represent our award-winning accessible venue One Great George Street (which is also home to The Institution of Civil Engineers) at the visit, alongside Blue Badge Style, Department of International Trade and Surrey Chambers of Commerce.
One Great George Street is a great example of how a Grade II Listed building can overcome structural issues to ensure it is fully accessible to all customers regardless of their ability. Our venue enables anyone, regardless of ability, to participate fully in any event thanks to its Sesame Platform Lift and other accessibility initiatives. This was officially recognised when it won the coveted Cateys award for Best Accessible Venue.
More recently, in a Meetpie article published in October 2016 entitled ‘UK legislation on accessibility is failing disabled delegates’, Rachel Belliere-Wilson wrote: “The word ‘reasonable’ is used too often, according to Brian Seaman, who carries out inspections of buildings for Tourism for All. Meanwhile Grade One and Two listed buildings are also excluded from adjusting their infrastructure to provide accessibility and inclusivity to all. “But it can be done if there is the willingness and desire to do it”, says Rachel. “One Great George Street is a great example of a Grade II listed building which has carried out outstanding adaptation whilst retaining the integrity of the building.”
Apart from the physical adaptations which we’ve carried out thanks to Sesame Access, our venue has been using Accessibility Consultant Jude Sefton MBE to run Accessibility Awareness training for its staff for over 10 years. The training on areas such as tackling differences, communicating positively and addressing different types of disabilities including those that are not obvious has been vital to ensuring the venue’s excellent customer service extends to every attendee. Every new member of staff receives training within their first year and refreshers are given every 2 years. After the most recent course Jude noted: “The positive changes over the years and commitment to becoming as accessible as can be is also great testament to the most positive attitude demonstrated by you and all at One Great George Street. How privileged Stuart and I are to have been part of this incredible experience.” Jude & Stuart, Access Unlimited.
Having invested greatly in our accessibility infrastructure and offering at One Great George Street, I was truly honoured to represent the venue and be part of HRH The Duke of Kent’s visit to Sesame Access’s workshop following their much-deserved honour last year of being presented The Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation.
It was an honor for The Duke of Kent to visit our workshop and find out more about our invisible wheelchair lifts. The Duke was very interested in our technology and engineering, and how Sesame is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of disabled accessibility. The Duke was also very supportive of our International Trade achievements, flying the flag for British innovation and Engineering across the world. The visit was a huge boost to our company and is a testament to the talent of our Engineers and Designers.”
Steven Lyons, Management Director of Sesame Access