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St Mary’s Guildhall – Accessibility

A historic Coventry venue has been recognised for making heritage more accessible at a major ceremony celebrating the region’s tourism industry.

St Mary’s Guildhall, operated by No Ordinary Hospitality, has been awarded Silver in the Accessible & Inclusive Tourism category at the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2024, held at the Bear Grylls Adventure, National Exhibition Centre Birmingham.

The achievement follows the 14th century venue’s £6m restoration programme which levelled the courtyard floor, installed new lifts and a hearing loop throughout the building and improved access throughout.

The accolade also recognises its work in improving visitors’ access to the building’s history through their community and education programmes.

The venue picked up the gold prize in the same category at last year’s awards.

Niamh Carton, Community Engagement Manager at St Mary’s Guildhall said “We’re so proud to have been recognised a second year running. Access and inclusion are the cornerstone of what we do at St Mary’s Guildhall.

“We want to make certain that this amazing historical space is open to everyone, and we are constantly working to continue to improve on what we do here.

“From the physical access features such as lifts, to our sensory friendly time slots, and sensory bags, to our community work with groups and partners, everything we do is to celebrate the diversity of Coventry’s communities and welcome everyone in.”

As part of its National Lottery funded community engagement programme, the historic attraction offers a range of talks, exhibitions and workshops designed to keep the Guildhall at the heart of the community.

It hosts a monthly Queer writing group and has delivered co-curated exhibitions for South Asian Heritage and Black History months, working alongside local artists and community groups.

The historic venue also offers family focused and sensory friendly experiences for visitors including quiet days, relaxed seasonal events, accessible guided tours and 360-degree photo tours for inaccessible areas.

The recent major package of restoration and refurbishment at St Mary’s Guildhall has been made possible through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund resourced by Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, and the Government’s Getting Britain Building Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.
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