Bedford holiday firm that helps families with accessibility needs wins prestigious award

'Families in some cases have been able to get their child into the sea for the first time ever!'
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A Bedford-based accessible holiday company helping families get away for much needed breaks has won a prestigious award.

Family-owned Holistic Thinking Holidays Limited provides affordable and accessible UK coastal holidays for wheelchair users and people with complex mobility challenges.

And now it has been named LUXlife Magazine UK Accessible Accommodation Provide of the Year for 2023.

Families are able to get to the beach, sometimes for the first timeFamilies are able to get to the beach, sometimes for the first time
Families are able to get to the beach, sometimes for the first time

Director Steve Welsh, who runs the business with wife Claire, said: “This is our first award as a business and took us completely by surprise. It was lovely to receive recognition of how far we have come in a short space of time, but the greater satisfaction, comes from the reviews, emails and messages we receive from our guests almost every week.

"Often from families who have been able to get to the beach for the first time in many years and in some cases have been able to get their child into the sea for the first time ever!”

Claire has over 30 years’ experience as a paediatric occupational therapist, 15 years as an expert witness and as a case manager, where she witnessed first-hand the struggles that families with extraordinary disability challenges face when they try to book a holiday.

Steve retired from a career in electronic manufacturing to manage the operations of Holistic Thinking Holidays in 2021.

One of the accessible holiday homesOne of the accessible holiday homes
One of the accessible holiday homes

They bought their first standard wheelchair accessible holiday home at the end of 2019, at Caister on Sea Holiday Park in Norfolk, adding improvements like a full room coverage ceiling hoist to the master bedroom and a mobile hoist for other transfers around the accommodation – as well as into the beach wheelchair that was made available for exclusive use for their visitors.

They now have a further five accessible holiday homes including Somerset, North Wales and Cornwall.

By the end of 2022, the company had provided more than 175 family holidays, over 40 of which were offered free by working with charities and families with a member who has higher level of care needs.

They also arrange for hiring equipment from local suppliers, or even purchase equipment that can then be used by future guests.

And they say their aim is to ensure that the holiday is as stress free as possible, in a comfortable and homely environment, with facilities on hand to keep travel to a minimum after arriving at the resort.

Steve said: “The business is just myself and Claire, and we’d love to be able to grow the business further around the UK coastline, by adding more accommodation ourselves, or by helping families to provide the same standard of accommodation and acting as agents for them, something that we have started for the first time this year.”

To view a video tour and photographs of each holiday home and site location, enquire about availability, or if you have accessible accommodation of your own that you feel could meet their model, visit their website.