Here at Accomable, we know you love browsing our listings to find the accessible holiday destination that’s right for you. We also know that when it comes to choosing the perfect accessible property, the devil really is in the detail - so we’re bringing you more of it.
Meet The Vendors is a series of interviews designed to take you behind closed (fully accessible) doors and give a more in-depth look at some of the properties we feature. Shona, Head of Operations at Accomable, takes you behind the scenes with Sue and her family at Brickhouse Cottages.
Hello, can you introduce yourself and your properties?
I’m Sue Rainford, one of the owners of Brickhouse Farm Holiday Cottages, we have eight accessible cottages facing a private fishing lake within acres of stunning countryside. We’re a family-run affair - I work in the office with my husband’s cousin Erica and my eldest daughter Vicki sharing the accounts, sales and marketing jobs. My husband Ian, and son-in-law Daniel both concentrate on the maintenance of the cottages and the surrounding area, and the building of the new cottages. Our youngest daughter Charlotte has a small shop onsite where she sells beautiful glassware that she makes in her her kiln, and she also sells the essentials for our customers; milk, fresh eggs from our own chickens, tea and coffee. My Mum helps Charlotte out in the shop.
At last year's Lancashire Tourism Awards with our awards for 'Access for All' and 'Self-Catering Accommodation' L-R: Marc (Erica’s partner), Ian (owner, my husband), Daniel (maintenance and Joiner, my son in Law), Vicki (marketing, eldest daughter…heavily pregnant at the time with our granddaughter), Anne (assists in the shop, my mum), Jim (my dad), Tom (Charlotte's partner), Charlotte (owner of the shop, youngest daughter), myself and Erica (sales, Ian’s cousin)
Wow, that’s definitely a family affair, what a great team! Is there an interesting story behind your property?
A number of years ago we moved to Brickhouse Farm with our two daughters. Our youngest daughter was later involved in an accident, which left her with disabilities. When she eventually came out of hospital we had to adapt our house to cater for her needs; ramps, level floor access and a large wet room to make things easier for all of us.
We received such amazing support from our community that in time we felt we wanted to give something back and since speaking with so many families in similar situations to ourselves, all of whom struggled to find holiday accommodation with adequate adaptations, we decided to try to make a difference.
On Christmas Day 2012, we started to build cottages on Brickhouse Farm, on a site that was previously used to keep chickens on. Then, after 6 intense months of extremely hard labour we opened Brickhouse Farm Cottages! We wanted the cottages to look ‘home from home’ rather than clinical and we hope you agree that we have accomplished this.
That’s something that we really love in holiday accommodation as well, and we definitely think you have accomplished this! How exactly have you adapted the cottages to enable people with disabilities to stay?
All of our self-catering holiday cottages have been purpose-built as wheelchair friendly with level access throughout the ground floor and patios. Many disability aids are available including ceiling track hoists from the accessible bedrooms into the wet rooms and in five of the cottages, from the garden into a private hot tub. Three cottages (Walnut, Hazel & Chestnut) have their own accessible balcony over the fishing lake. Some cottages also have height-adjustable sinks and hobs.
Wow, we think you’re the only accommodation we have with a track hoist into the hot tub! Why did you think it was important to have all of these adaptations?
Knowing ourselves how hard it can be to find somewhere to fit the needs of all abilities we wanted to build a place where anybody can enjoy a holiday that is a home-from-home, somewhere that doesn’t feel like a hospital. We believe that anyone should be able to have a holiday.
Have you ever had anyone famous stay?
We have had the Paralympic cycling and triathlon team stay with us over the last two years whilst training for the Rio Paralympics. We are very proud that we could accommodate all of their needs and watching them train was truly inspirational.
Now that is a claim to fame, we’ll be keeping our eye out for them in Rio over the next few weeks!
What is your favourite thing to do in your local area?
There’s a wide range of activities in the local area, one of our favourites on a rainy day is going to the Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool or on a sunny day have a stroll around Wyre Countryside Park. Both places are very accessible and we are happy to send our visitors who are in wheelchairs to these great attractions. In the winter months we love the Blackpool Illuminations, which brings people from all over the country and is a real spectacle.
Are there any other exciting activities in the area that are adapted for people with disabilities?
The Sandcastle Water Park is very well equipped with a changing places, track hoists and lifts, it has won many awards for accessibility in the Lancashire Tourism Awards and has been a runner up for the Access for All Visit England Award. Blackpool Zoo, Blackpool Tower, Beacon Fell Country Park and many more places are accessible, it really is a great place for people to visit with so much to do.
Have you got any tips for travellers staying with you?
Towels and bedding are supplied during your stay but we do ask visitors to bring extra towels if you are using the hot tubs. If you have requested the use of a hoist during the stay then you will need to bring your own slings.
I would also suggest that you look at which activities you would like to do during your stay so that you can see if their accessibility is right for you and your family. Just ask us if you have any questions before your stay so that we can help you have a great holiday!
And finally, what sort of a traveller are you, where do you like to go and what sorts of things do you like to do on holiday?
We like varying our holidays a lot, travelling both around Britain and to other countries. Our favourite has to be skiing in the Alps but we do enjoy the sunshine, looking at architecture and having a stroll around other towns and cities.
Wow, we really love Brickhouse Cottages, track hoists into the hot tubs get our votes!
If you'd like to find out more about the 8 accessible cottages available at Brickhouse Farm Holiday Cottages, you can do so here:
- Birch Cottage, sleeps 4
- Willow Cottage, sleeps 6
- Pine Cottage, sleeps 6, dog-friendly
- Poplar Cottage, sleeps 6, hot tub
- Chestnut Cottage, sleeps 6, hot tub & hoist
- Oak Cottage, sleeps 8, hot tub & hoist
- Hazel Cottage, sleeps 8, hot tub
- Walnut Cottage, sleeps 8, hot tub & hoist