Applications for a new £500,000 fund to improve accessibility on Scotland’s ferry network will close at the end of November 2014.
Launched earlier this summer by transport Minister Keith Brown, the Ferries Accessibility Fund is open to bids from the public and private sector in an effort to improve disabled access on ferries and at harbours.
Made on a match-funding basis, Transport Scotland hope that the fund will help make Scotland's ferry services “open and accessible to everyone".
When launching the fund, Mr Brown said:
“We want ferry and harbour operators to provide the best passenger experience possible.
“The funding could help a wide range of proposals, from adapting existing ships and harbours to make it easier and safer for people with reduced mobility to embark and disembark, to giving staff training in disability awareness and customer service.
“By making awards on a match-funding basis, it means up to £1million could be spent on accessibility improvements across the ferry network.
“Ultimately, I want this funding to help make improvements that address the needs of passengers and encourage more people to use Scotland’s ferry services.”
The financial administration of the Ferries Accessibility Fund will be carried out by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) to ensure that it is administered competently, transparently and in line with Government finance rules.
The Fund Management Group that will select the successful applicants will be made up of representatives from Transport Scotland and Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland.
Anne Maclean, convenor of Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland, welcomed the fund. She added that the fund is “an encouraging initiative to go beyond the requirements of legislation and to include disabled people in pointing out and making sometimes small changes which can make the ferry journey much more accessible, comfortable and enjoyable for the disabled traveller."
The Fund is open to bids from any ferry or harbour operator providing a service covered by the Scottish Ferries Plan, published in December 2012. This includes local authority and private sector port and ferry services.
If you are a Scottish port capable of handling ocean-going cruise liners, you might want to consider joining Cruise Scotland, a marketing association of 13 cruise ports and three tour operators that aims to increase Scotland’s share of the international cruise market by encouraging more cruise lines to include the beautiful Scottish ports in their itineraries. It also seeks opportunities for Scottish companies to market their products and services to the cruise industry.
Find out more about Cruise Scotland on the Tourism Intelligence Scotland Practical Tools and Links page.