Martin Austin is Managing Director of Nimbus Disability, the Social Enterprise behind the Access Card, the UK's first national ID card for disabled people. Here he talks about how and why it was developed. www.accesscard.org.uk Phone 01332 404023 email: [email protected]
Latest news (12/2/16): The Ticket Factory and the NEC Group Arenas now use the Access Card
Nimbus is a consultancy company set up to complement our sister charity Disability Direct and its Centre for Independent Living. We work with some of the UK's most well-known and respected companies, helping them to improve their ability to provide great services to disabled people through a mixture of training, auditing and our CredAbility Quality Marks.
One area of work I’ve always been very fond of is the Live Music industry, which generally goes to great lengths to provide an accessible experience in what, as we know, can be quite a challenging environment. One example is our flagship festival, the CredAbility quality marked Download Festival, held each year at Donington Park. The park is transformed into a greenfield festival site which features tracked walkways, viewing platforms, Changing Places toilets and well-trained staff. But despite these on-site adjustments, we found that there were barriers to accessing tickets in the first place.
We want to simplify life for disabled people and found (as our friends Attitude is Everything note in their State of Access Report) that a universally accepted proof of disability was the key to unlocking many opportunities for disabled people.
The Access Card was born! Gone are the days of photocopying DLA entitlement letters! The card draws on all of our experience and understanding of the Social Model of Disability, the Equality Act, co-production, and the ticketing industry.
Now accepted at venues throughout the UK, the Access Card speeds up booking and explains what adjustments a provider needs to make - quickly, discreetly, and, most importantly, remotely.
We work in partnership with The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, which is something we cherish as enriching and focusing our work.
We’re also extending our partnerships with a social franchising model which allows local disability groups like Disability Sheffield to take ownership of the scheme and its associate quality mark, CredAbility, at a local level. If any other local Disabled People's User-Led Organisations would like to take part, please get in touch with me.
Partnership is at the heart of what we do. We’re also open to discuss how this might work in other industries, and have already identified some great crossover work with Rica, following the recommendations made in the Extra Costs Commission's final report.
The future's looking bright and the Access Card has applications far beyond ticketing: it applies to sport, transport, healthcare, social care, customer loyalty and much more.
Last updated: April 2016