Eureka has taken the top prize in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category at this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.
The National Children’s Museum won the award for its Access All Areas project which aims to bring more disabled children and their families to the children’s museum in Halifax.
It was presented with the award at a star-studded black-tie ceremony at the Mermaid Theatre in London last night (Thursday), hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.
After connecting with local disability groups, the museum secured funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for a three-year initiative to offer accessible activities and bespoke services.
Throughout the process, Eureka focused on staff development and underwent organisational change. A total of 250 staff were trained up on different aspects of disability awareness and that process has now become an automatic part of the induction process for new staff.
The museum engaged with 500 families during the process. An ‘extra pair of hands’ service was made available and remains a service offered to visitors on request.
New posts were opened up including a permanent inclusion manager and a specialist Access All Areas enabler.
The result was a 45 per cent increase in visits from families with a disabled child.
Leigh-Anne Stradeski, chief executive of Eureka, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our inclusive museum, and work hard to share our knowledge and experience with others who can benefit from it.
“Our museum has always been innovative in the field of children’s playful learning, and we’re delighted that we have been recognised with this wonderful award to celebrate our achievements.”
Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated Eureka on winning the highly-coveted award.
She said: “We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so Eureka should be very proud to have won their category.
“Their project delivered great results. For 17 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities win awards.”