A revolutionary self-catering facility for disabled holiday-makers which I helped to support from the outset, is to open in Fife next year, Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing announced today (Wednesday 13 August).
Mr Ewing was in Cupar to lay a ceremonial stone to mark the creation of “The Rings” – a cottage with eight wheelchair-accessible bedrooms that has just been granted planning permission by Fife Council.
VisitScotland, the national tourism organization, says The Rings represents a “milestone” in accessible tourism, becoming one of only a handful of visitor accommodation options in Scotland to offer ceiling hoists for severely disabled guests.
Farm owners David & Moira Henderson expect the cottage, which has received a £165,000 Scottish Rural Development Grant from Scottish Enterprise, will be ready to welcome its first guests by next June.
As well as a range of accessible facilities, Mrs. Henderson, a former trained nurse, will be able to organize care support should this be required.
Mr Ewing said: “I am delighted to announce that The Rings will be ready to welcome its first guests next summer. Everybody enjoys a holiday, and those with accessible needs are no different. It is important that these needs are catered for and I have no doubt that The Rings will be a fantastic addition to tourism in Fife and I look forward to seeing the finished article.”
Moira Henderson said: “A few years ago, my cousin developed a life-changing paralysing disease. As he deteriorated, he paid to go into a hospice to allow his family to go on holiday – without him. That’s not what holidays are all about – they are about relaxing in a comfortable and suitable environment with family or friends. They are about re-charging batteries, building and strengthening relationships and creating happy memories that last a lifetime. I think The Rings has the potential to change people’s lives.”
Chris McCoy, who heads up VisitScotland’s Accessible Tourism Project, said: “The building of The Rings is a milestone for accessible tourism in Scotland, not just in terms of its excellent facilities, but also the personal support on offer. It won’t be like a hospital but will be a luxury holiday destination for those with access needs. David and Moira have worked extremely hard to make their dream a reality and I am sure that The Rings will serve as an inspiration in the world of accessible tourism.”
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