Red Funnel receives funding from the Department for Transport to support upgrades to accessibility services for passengers
Thu, Nov 3 2022
Red Funnel has received a grant from the Department for Transport as part of its new Maritime Accessibility Fund. Following an open bid process which called for ferry operators across the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly to apply, the cross-Solent ferry company has been granted just over £296,000 to make important upgrades to the accessibility of its services.
Upgrades to support accessibility to the Red Funnel fleet are due to start imminently and will take place during each vessel’s regular scheduled annual maintenance throughout 2022. The work will focus around key areas including:
- The creation of more designated accessible seating
- Upgrades to emergency signage on board and improvements to each vessel’s PA system
- The installation of push button, self-closing, automatic sliding doors across its vehicle ferries, to give easier access for all passengers
- Upgrades to all vehicle ferry terminal toilets
All upgrades are designed to offer passengers an improved service, whatever support they need for travel.
Fran Collins, Chief Executive at Red Funnel, said: “Our service is depended on by both Island residents and mainland visitors, all of whom travel for many different reasons and with different needs, so we continuously look at ways to improve our facilities and meet the requirements of all those who travel with us. The Maritime Accessibility Fund grant will help us focus on upgrades to our services to improve the experience for passengers with disabilities or accessibility needs, and further enhance similar tasks already planned for this year.”
Robert Courts, Maritime Minister, added: “This funding will tangibly improve access to this life-line ferry link, which is vital to keep communities linked with the mainland.
“We are committed to help people to travel with confidence as we continue to build back from the pandemic.”
The Maritime Accessibility Fund has been launched by the Department for Transport as an initial one-time opportunity for Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly ferry operators, designed to support the accessibility of ferry travel. An initial funding pot of £1million was made available to ferry operators through an open application process, with grants awarded to successful applicants.
Notes to editors
About Red Funnel
Red Funnel is the original Isle of Wight ferry company with roots tracing back to 1820. Based in the UK port of Southampton, Red Funnel carries 2.3m passengers and over 800,000 vehicles on its ferry route between the UK port of Southampton and East Cowes and 1.1m passengers between Southampton and West Cowes on its Red Jet Hi-Speed service.
In addition to ferry travel, Red Funnel is the only cross-Solent operator to offer ferry inclusive bonded holiday accommodation, attraction tickets, festival and event tickets and activity packages. Sub-brands include ‘Red Jet’ (the Hi-Speed passenger only ferry service serving West Cowes) and its on board café, ‘ReFuel’.
The Company is a founder member of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, the Island’s not for profit destination management organisation and Red Funnel sponsors or supports most of the Island’s premier events including the IW Festival, Cowes Week, Rhythm Tree, The Great Wonderfest, Wight Proms, Cowes Classics, and Walk the Wight as well as a range of community and niche interest events. Red Funnel’s Charity of the Year, 2021 is Isle of Wight Independent Lifeboats.
For more information, visit www.redfunnel.co.uk.