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Spabreaks.com to make spas available to all

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Spabreaks.com has launched a couple of new packages aimed at making spas more inclusive, sparking the dialogue about whether spas are currently doing enough to make everyone welcome.

Launched following the Paralympics, and supported by paralympian gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, and disability rights campaigner Claire Lomas, Spas for All promotes spas which are welcoming to wheelchair users and people with disabilities.

Spabreaks.com founder, Abi Wright, says Spas for All was launched on the back of growing demand: "We were getting about 10 enquiries a day from people with disabilities,” she says, “which made us look at which spas are inclusive, so that we can advise our clients."

Some venues have also agreed to take part in the Carer Goes Free programme, which allows disabled people to bring a helper with them free of charge, if they pay full price.

Recovery Retreats, which was launched at the end of 2011, is also growing organically. Again, Wright put this package together because of consumer demand.

"One of my clients called me early one Sunday morning devastated at being turned away from a spa because she was recovering from cancer," says Wright. "Cancer is a taboo subject at spas, but people suffering from this disease can benefit from spa. I handpicked a few of my most trusted spas to run the Recovery Retreats. Instead of telling people what they can't do at a spa, we focus on what they can do."

The Recovery Retreat packages vary from spa to spa. Some, particularly those with Macmillan trained therapists, offer massages, others might focus more on walks in the grounds and relaxing pool side.

"We put the customer and spa in touch before the visit so that all of the issues are dealt with in advance, so they can enjoy themselves like regular customers once they arrive," says Wright.

So far around 20-30 people a week are booking up for Recovery Retreats. Going forward, Wright is hoping to link up with PCTs to get their support for treating people with cancer.

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Spabreaks.com has launched a couple of new packages aimed at making spas more inclusive, sparking the dialogue about whether spas are currently doing enough to make everyone welcome.
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