"In 1993 I became a mum to a young man with Down syndrome ... and it became really obvious there was a huge gap in service provision.
"So I helped him and then I helped other families along the way."
This was how Fiona Hemmings described her start in providing transport options to people with disabilities, after Fiona's Mini Buses won the 2019 Tamworth Access Award for business this afternoon.
The ceremony at Tamworth Community Centre also honoured Di Hall, the creative director of school performing arts event CAPERS, as the individual winner.
And a joint highly commended went to Tamworth CBD Coles and Shoppingworld Woolworths, both of which have brought in a gentle-on-the-senses Quiet Hour.
Tamworth Regional Council holds the awards to recognise the people and groups working to make places, events and services more accessible.
Cultural and community services manager Kay Delahunt said the nominations were "a testament to the actions and initiatives that are being taken around the region".
Mrs Hall is the NSW Department of Education's arts co-ordination officer in Tamworth and was recognised for her work on Creative Arts in Public Education Regional Spectacular (CAPERS).
She said she accepted the award "on behalf of everybody who was involved in CAPERS, because it's not a one-man show".
"It's lovely to have it recognised as an inclusive event and an opportunity for all kids, regardless of ability or disability," Mrs Hall said.
Fiona's Mini Buses was cited for providing accessible transport to and from the Links for Life Tamworth Disability Expo, without which some would not be able to attend.
Mrs Hemmings said it was "really unexpected" for her business to be singled out from "so many hardworking people in the community".
She said her team "care passionately" about their customers and getting them happily from A to B.
"A regular person takes it for granted; you just jump in the car and think, 'I've got to be there by 10 o'clock' and off you go," she said.
"For some members of the community, [it's] such a big deal, and they need that reliability - and the guys that work for me are just amazing; they just all have that bit extra."
Coles and Woolworths won their joint award for their Tuesday morning Quiet Hour from 10.30am.
For people with sensory needs, such as those on the autism spectrum, changes include the radio turned off, the scanner and register volume turned down and the lighting lowered.