Cornwall Airport Newquay becomes the first Makaton friendly UK Airport
The staff at Cornwall Airport Newquay have been really keen to learn a sign language and were very excited when Cornwall Accessible Activities Programme (CAAP) put us in touch with Amanda Glennon who is a tutor at the Makaton Charity.
Amanda and the Airport worked together to set up training specifically aimed towards Airport staff and on 25th February this year, she delivered the first training session. Amanda carried out four training sessions during the week in conjunction with CAAP who gave the staff an awareness of Down syndrome. We are delighted that 75 staff members of Cornwall Airport Newquay undertook this training from a range of different departments including, Passenger Services, Security, Airside, Café and our head office, meaning we are now proud to say that we are the UK's first Makaton Friendly Airport.
Staff have flash cards to refer to with the signs and symbols to enhance their training and these are also going to be on display in their work areas. We are also really keen to purchase tablets to include additional Makaton resources.
Airport Forum for Accessible Travel
On 24th November 2018, the Airport held its first forum for accessible travel. This was made up of a group of volunteers with different assistance needs who have recently travelled by air, or would like to in the future. Our first meeting was a great success and everyone went away feeling very enthusiastic and excited about the differences this forum can make in ensuring air travel is more inclusive.
The forum will meet on a quarterly basis and we will publish the minutes from these meetings on our Passengers with Reduced Mobility web page. The first meeting included an airport tour, from this we have put together an action plan noting the areas of the terminal and surrounding site that need review and when this will take place.
DisAbiliy Cornwall & Isles of Scilly
Cornwall Airport Newquay are delighted to be working with disAbility Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, our local user-led organisation. Together we aim to improve access and ensure a positive experience for our customers with a long term health condition, additional need or disability.
We have undertaken focus groups, consumer audits and regular consultations, giving us a wealth of advice and guidance on ways we can improve our service which we have begun putting in place. By hosting regular meetings, we can ensure that our policy remains current and proactive to support passengers who need assistance with their journey through the Airport.
We are researching the possibility of adding a virtual tour of the airport to our website so people can be aware of what to expect, as well as a brochure which will set out our access considerations.
In the future we are hoping to improve our signage throughout, installing screens for people who have a hearing impairment to communicate flight updates. We also hope to install a Changing Place suite and are looking into adding an ‘Adi Roommate’ for people with a visual impairment.
Even if they are not flying that day, we hope that people within the area will make use of our 30 minutes free parking and pop by to use this facility.
We have held a number of familiarisation tours this year. These can include private requests for families and small groups to have a tour of the airport and to alleviate any fears they may have about travelling.
January and March 2019
We hosted a family and a small group of young adults who have autism and a young adult with anxiety who will all be travelling later in the year.
9th February 2019
We held a familiarisation day for anyone who requires assistance and wanting a tour of the Airport terminal. This was a great opportunity to experience a live airport environment and have access to an aircraft.
Time to Shine
We have also recently had the pleasure of hosting a tour of the Airport for a group of young people from the Time to Shine project, which is part of the Cornwall Accessible Activity programme. Cornwall Airport Newquay staff were able to provide the group with an insight into the airport experience. With the assistance of Flybe and their crew, the group was also able to go on board a Flybe aircraft and talk to the Captain and crew about what to expect before and during the flight. They all thoroughly enjoyed the day and were looking forward to their scheduled flight to Dublin.
We were also delighted to present to one of their students at their graduation evening in April, shown in the video below.