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Awards for Excellence 2023 winners revealed in the UK



Photo of the Gold Award Winners for Large Hotel of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 - Titanic Hotel Liverpool (Representatives from Titanic Hotel Liverpool) - in front of branded photo backdrop
Titanic Hotel Liverpool received the VisitEngland Gold Award for Large Hotel of the Year | Photo: VisitBritain/Daniela Luquini

VisitEngland has announced the winners of its annual Awards for Excellence 2023.

The 20 Gold Award winners were announced at an evening ceremony last night hosted by entrepreneur and TV presenter Alex Polizzi at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, in categories ranging from ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year’ and ‘B&B and Guest House of the Year’ to ‘Business Events Venue of the Year’ and ‘Experience of the Year.’  The Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were selected from hundreds of tourism businesses across England including hotels, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, glamping operators, attractions, restaurants, pubs and museums.

Running for more than 30 years, VisitEngland Awards for Excellence celebrate and champion innovation, quality and best practice across the industry recognising businesses and individuals who raise the bar of England’s tourism offer.

“It is fantastic to come together as an industry to celebrate our world-class tourism businesses. Competition this year was fierce with customer service excellence evident across every category, thanks to the passion and dedication of individuals. From an outdoor theatre in Suffolk to a boutique B&B in Essex, from an arboretum museum in Staffordshire, a zoo farm in Bristol, to island boat tours in Northumberland, this year’s awards also showcase the wonderful range of quality tourism products on offer across England”, said Andrew Stokes VisitEngland Director.

In addition to the 16 core categories award winners, four special awards were also presented this year including an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award,’ a ‘Travel Content Award’, a ‘Tourism Superstar Award’ and a ‘TXGB Trailblazer Award’.

The ‘Tourism Superstar Award’ went to Geoff Colvin. Geoff, a volunteer stationmaster at the Kent and East Sussex Railway, was the winner of the VisitEngland Tourism Superstar 2023 run in partnership with the Mirror, following a public vote and competition earlier this year.

The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award went to ‘England’s Coast’ in recognition of its valuable role in boosting domestic and inbound tourism to England.

The Travel Content Award, which recognises the media’s important contribution in championing domestic tourism, was won by travel and food writer Alicia Miller of The Independent with her storyHow to do a classic Cotswolds weekend, car-free.’

Tourism is one of England’s largest and industries, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses, employing about 2.6 million people and, in 2019, generating £76 billion in domestic visitor spending.

Here is the full list of VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 winners:

Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award:

GOLD Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol 

SILVER Brickhouse Farm Holiday Cottages & Lakeside Hub, Lancashire 

BRONZE WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire 

B&B and Guest House of the Year:

GOLD Piglets Boutique B&B, Essex 

SILVER Cedar Manor, Cumbria 

BRONZE Sunnyside Guest House, Merseyside 

Business Events Venue of the Year:

GOLD National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire 

SILVER Imago Venues, Leicestershire 

BRONZE The ICC Birmingham, West Midlands 

Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year:

GOLD The Quiet Site, Cumbria 

SILVER Brook Meadow, Leicestershire 

BRONZE Hendra Holiday ParkCornwall 

Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Award:

GOLD Pure Outdoor, Derbyshire 

SILVER National Forest EBike HolidaysLeicestershire 

BRONZE The Cottages at Blackadon FarmDevon 

Experience of the Year:

GOLD Grey Seal and Seabird Cruise, Serenity Farne Island Boat Tours, Northumberland 

SILVER Make Your Own Gin Experience, Shed 1 Gin Distillery, Cumbria 

BRONZE Peak District Walking Experience, myGuidedWalks, Derbyshire 

Large Hotel of the Year:

GOLD Titanic Hotel Liverpool, Merseyside 

SILVER Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Wiltshire 

BRONZE Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort, County Durham 

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year:

GOLD Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire 

SILVER Blenheim PalaceOxfordshire 

BRONZE International Bomber Command Centre, Lincolnshire 

New Tourism Business of the Year:

GOLD Thorington TheatreSuffolk 

SILVER Bassenthwaite Lake Station, Cumbria 

BRONZE Great British Car Journey, Derbyshire 

Pub of the Year:

GOLD The Blind Bull, Derbyshire 

SILVER The Shoe, Hampshire 

BRONZE The Duncombe Arms, Staffordshire 

St Lukes Bombed Out Church is the Gold award winner for the Resilience and Innovation Award at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2023 | Photo: David Munn.

Resilience and Innovation Award:

GOLD St Luke’s Bombed Out Church C.I.C., Merseyside 

SILVER Langley Castle Hotel, Northumberland 

BRONZE Healing Manor Hotel, Lincolnshire 

Self-Catering Accommodation of the Year:

GOLD Kidlandlee Holiday Cottages, Northumberland 

SILVER The Dovecote Barns, North Yorkshire 

BRONZE Eaton Manor Country Estate, Shropshire 

Small Hotel of the Year:

GOLD Askham HallCumbria 

SILVER THE PIG-at Combe, Devon 

BRONZE Wildhive Callow Hall, Derbyshire 

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year:

GOLD Watatunga Wildlife Reserve, Norfolk 

SILVER Muncaster Castle, Gardens and Hawk & Owl Centre, Cumbria 

BRONZE PK Porthcurno, Cornwall 

Taste of England Award:

GOLD Pensons Restaurant at the Netherwood Estate, Worcestershire 

SILVER The Unruly Pig, Suffolk 

BRONZE The Glasshouse Restaurant, Hampshire 

Unsung Hero Award:

GOLD Michael Wilson, Official Guide to the Kent Estuary, Guide Over Sands Trust, Cumbria

SILVER Marie Colgrave, Welcome Building Supervisor, Whitchurch Silk Mill, Hampshire

BRONZE Carol Adams, Head of Horticulture & Biodiversity, Trentham, Staffordshire

The TXGB Trailblazer Award:

GOLD Red Funnel, Isle of Wight 

SILVER New Adventures, Tyne & Wear & Northumberland 

BRONZE Cotswolds Tourism, Cotswolds 

Travel Content Award:

GOLD Alicia Miller, The Independent – How to do a classic Cotswolds weekend, car-free

SILVER Ben Lerwill, National Geographic Traveller – How art and ancient history collide on a hike through Deal, Dover and Folkestone

BRONZE Paul Healy, Anywhere We Roam –A wild getaway in Swaledale – the unspoilt valley in the Yorkshire Dales

Tourism Superstar:

Geoff Colvin, Chief Stationmaster, Kent & East Sussex Railway

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award:

England’s Coast

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BT lands £70m IT services deal with South West Police



Police woman standing next to a police car
Ten-year contract with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police will see BT manage IT services for the two forces.

BT today announced it has secured a ten-year, £70m IT services deal with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police. Together, the two police forces handle more than a million emergency and non-emergency calls and respond to more than 118,000 incidents of recorded crime each year. The new long-term agreement will strengthen the forces’ technology estates by creating a future-fit infrastructure to support more joined-up policing, with the potential to extend the contract to neighbouring forces in the South West region.

The managed service contract will underpin a range of the police’s information, technology, and communication demands, including field mobile, airwave vehicle and handheld connectivity for emergency services – alongside security and customer service desk applications.

It will see BT work with both police forces to support public contact and staff collaboration platforms, delivering efficiencies for 101 and 999 services, whilst improving intelligence gathering and data sharing for staff. Frontline officers will benefit from improved connectivity for devices such as mobile phones, body-worn cameras and vehicle radio systems, delivering benefits for local policing by giving officers access to critical real-time information.

BT will also assist the forces in staying compliant with security frameworks, supporting measures to strengthen their security protocols against external threats. Together, these services will support Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police with their digital policing strategy and strengthen crime prevention efforts, whilst also delivering expected financial efficiencies.

More than 5,100 police officers and 3,500 police staff work within the two forces, and they employ more than 550 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and special constables. As part of the contract, BT has agreed to progress social value initiatives for both forces, implementing measures to improving transparency on the environmental impact of police activities in the South West.

“Efficient and resilient technology infrastructure is crucial to support the police in tackling both current and emerging threats – so we’re proud to have the back of South West police forces by delivering exactly that. This new managed service from BT will help future-proof connectivity in all areas of policing, from those on the frontline to behind-the-scenes support staff, helping them to protect the public and keep pace with the changing nature of crime,” says Ashish Gupta, Managing Director, Corporate and Public Sector at BT.

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12 steps to create inclusive presentations for any audience



Encourage questions from the whole crowd. This fosters engagement from players who are not as confident or remote.

A varied work environment requires presentations that everyone can enjoy and learn from. And In today’s diverse and interconnected world, providing inclusive presentations is more important than ever, as they can ensure that all audience members, regardless of their backgrounds, abilities, or learning styles, can engage with and understand the content.

Besides aligning several levels of expertise and increase audience engagement, as everyone feels respected and able to participate fully, inclusive presentations also enhance productivity, as audience engagement, as everyone feels respected and able to participate fully in any setting.

Here experts at a presentation design agency share essential tips on how to build engaging presentations for all audiences, regardless of background, abilities, or learning styles. These inclusive habits can help you improve your communication skills and create a respectful, inclusive atmosphere.

Understand your audience

To provide an inclusive presentation, first understand your audience. This requires investigating your target audience’s age, culture, career, and any limitations. Understanding these elements enables you to personalize your presentation to meet their individual needs and experiences.

Customizing Content to Meet Different Needs

Tailor your content to your target audience’s demographics. Use inclusive language and avoid technical jargon unless everyone knows it. Consider your target audience’s cultural and educational backgrounds to avoid alienating them via content or delivery.

Knowing your audience enables you to provide a more informed and engaging presentation. This first step establishes the presence of your presenting style.

Making content accessible

Making your information accessible goes beyond words. Speak plainly and simply to individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill levels. Summarize complicated concepts and provide handouts or visual aids to supplement the spoken information. Make your papers screen reader accessible and provide various formats for visually challenged audience members.

Planning your content around these features can make your presentation more inclusive and maximize the event’s advantages for everyone.

Making Slides Accessible

The visual style of presentation slides determines their accessibility and efficacy. Learn how to make presentations that everyone can comprehend.

Visually Accessible Slide Design Tips

To help visually challenged folks, use high contrast text and backdrop colors. Black text on white, or vice versa, is simple to see.

Simple Designs: Avoid layouts that are distracting or confusing. Use white space around text and pictures in a tidy way.

Use big letters for easier reading from a distance. Headings should have a larger font size than body text, which should be 24 points.

Selecting fonts and colors

Color schemes: When choosing slide colors, keep color blindness in mind. Avoid hazardous color pairings like green and red.

Choose readable fonts. Sans-serif types like Arial and Helvetica are ideal for screen readability.

These features allow you to design presentations that are attractive and accessible to everyone in your audience, even those who have visual impairments.

Inclusive Language and Delivery

Using inclusive language and careful delivery makes everyone in the audience feel valued and involved. How to do this in presentations.

Language Matters in Inclusivity

Avoid jargon: Use clear, straightforward language that all audience members may comprehend. Avoid utilizing technical or industry-specific jargon unless it is explicitly explained or clarified in the presentation.

Use Gender-Neutral Language: To neutralize gender-specific phrases, use “they” instead of “he/she” and “team” instead of “guys”.

Cultural awareness: Cultural variations might affect how your message is perceived. Avoid using idioms and words that may lose significance between cultures.

Clear and Respectful Communication Methods

Clear, Moderate Speech: Maintain a moderate speaking tempo so that everyone can grasp the information, particularly those who process auditory information slowly.

Pause to emphasise: After making crucial statements, pause momentarily to ensure that your audience understands them. This increases understanding and accentuates the point.

Restate To help you remember crucial points, repeat them throughout the lecture.

Inclusive language and thoughtful delivery improve the accessibility of your presentation and make attendees feel appreciated.

Using various learning styles

Recognizing and engaging audiences’ learning styles improves presentation inclusiveness and effectiveness. How to Support Multiple Learning Styles:

Engaging Everyone with Your Delivery

Use a range of teaching strategies in your presentation to suit various learning styles. Use imagery, narrative, and interaction.

Polls, question periods, and small group discussions make presentations more appealing to interested students.

Notes and takeaways: Provide attendees with specific handouts for use during and after the presentation. This allows all students to study and review at their own speed.

Accepting these many learning styles can help your presentation be more inclusive, memorable, and powerful for everyone.

Tips for Inclusive Q&A

Facilitating an inclusive Q&A session engages audience members while making them feel heard and appreciated. Here are some tips for making your Q&A sessions more inclusive

Set Clear Guidelines: At the start of the Q&A session, establish clear expectations for question handling. To encourage involvement, ask polite, concise questions.

Ask questions utilizing an audience microphone if one is provided. This elevates their voice and ensures that the whole audience hears the query.

Always repeat the audience’s questions before responding. If some people did not hear the question, this will help them to comprehend it.

Encourage all attendees to participate.

Encourage questions from the whole crowd. This fosters engagement from players who are not as confident or remote.

Provide other questioning methods: Throughout the session, attendees may submit written or digital inquiries. Shy people or those who dread public speaking may benefit from this.

These ideas will improve the effectiveness and inclusivity of your Q&A sessions by enabling everyone to participate.

Use assistive technology

Assistive technology may help make presentations more accessible, enabling everyone to participate. Integrate these technologies effectively.

Feedback Collection and Use

Continuous progress demands feedback, especially for inclusive presentations. Discover how to gather and use feedback to make future presentations more interesting and accessible.

In today’s globalised society, presentations must reach and engage a wide range of audiences. This article’s eight phases, which range from audience knowledge and content production to assistive technology usage and feedback, provide a thorough approach to inclusive presentations. Presenters may utilize these techniques to make their message more accessible, resulting in a welcoming and polite environment. In order to accomplish ongoing progress and flexibility, input must be solicited and absorbed. Take the following measures to enhance your presenting abilities and promote inclusion in your professional community.

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines awarded for beekeeping tour



Fred Olsen Cruise Lines awarded for beekeeping tour
Georgina May, PR Executive, Tabi Winney, Destination Experience Assistant, Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Product Development | Photo: Michael Newington Gray

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have been awarded ‘Consumer Favourite for Excursions’ at the inaugural Sailawaze Excellence Awards 2024.

The cruise line received the award last night at a gala ceremony held in central London, attended and hosted by Patrick Grant, presenter of hit BBC show, The Great British Sewing Bee.

More than 150 entries were submitted across the award’s eight categories, which were then shortlisted by a panel of cruise line industry experts. The final shortlist was then voted for by consumers.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ rural beekeeping tour in Lithuania was highlighted by the award. This tour allows guests the opportunity to learn more about village life and the cultural significance of bees by visiting a family-run apiary to see how honey is produced, with the chance to sample various honeys and locally produced mead.

“We were incredibly proud to have received this award. It’s testament to all the work that our Destination Experience teams, both ashore and on board our fleet, put in to making each one of our guests’ excursions an incredible and unforgettable experience,” said Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Product Development at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. “We believe it’s all about the people and we believe that giving our guests the opportunity to connect with credible local people, who aren’t just providing information on a subject, but are passionate about sharing their personal stories and insights into their real lives, is the best way of engaging our guests and the communities that we visit”.

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