The newly-introduced Access Card is designed to easily and discreetly let businesses know the specific needs of disabled visitors.
One of the major issues facing disabled people is having to explain why they might need adjustments when accessing services. It is common to be asked to describe any conditions, sometimes in humiliating and unnecessary detail, to sporting and music venues or provide proof of disability.
Several high-profile venues are now bringing the card into practice, including: Capital FM Arena, Barclay Card Arena and Genting Arena in Birmingham, The SSE Arena Wembley, Download Festival, IPRO Stadium, Nottingham Forest’s City Ground all O2 Academies and Glastonbury Festival.
The individual needs of cardholders are assessed and entered into a secure database. The venue can access information on the barriers faced by the customer and can then anticipate how best to meet their needs.
The creator of the Access Card is Nimbus, a social enterprise consultancy run by disabled people. The team has worked closely with disabled patrons and providers to establish exactly what the card needs to communicate to help improve diversity for suppliers.
He said: “We do the assessment ourselves and make a decision based on a person’s actual needs rather than their medical diagnosis.
“The card communicates those needs to a provider. So the provider can concentrate on what they need to do to support a disabled customer.”
Nimbus requires applicants to take a single assessment on their impairment and what it means for them when they apply. This helps simplify the process for disabled people and the provider to make sure they’re meeting the patron’s needs as well as proving the access needs of the patron are genuine.
Charlotte Throssel, who has Phocomelia, described trying to go see her favourite bands can be an absolute nightmare.
She said: “Half the time you can’t find the right information. You are phoning up a variety of different numbers trying to find things out. You are giving over sensitive information every time you book tickets.
“When I’m asked what my disability is, that doesn’t say what my access needs are.
“With this card I don’t need to do any of that. I can book things a lot more quickly and don’t have to repeat myself with every provider. It’s absolutely fabulous and at £15 every 3 years I think it’s great value.”
Attitude is Everything, a charity that aims to improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, recently published their State of Access Report which found buying a ticket was often a barrier for deaf and disabled people.
The study found that 75% of mystery shoppers preferred to book their tickets online, but only 1 out of 10 music venues offered this. Suzanne Bull MBE, Chief Executive Officer of Attitude is Everything (AiE) says the Access Card is helping to create an equal ticketing service for all customers.
She said: “The Access Card is a universal proof of disability card that is being accepted by a number of venues and festivals, and we fully endorse the card scheme as an accessible method of proving eligibility.
“It’s a stepping stone to enabling disabled music fans to purchase tickets online.”
Martin Ingham, deputy chief executive of Capital FM Arena, the first Arena to go live, said: “The big thing for us is that it enables our staff to respond to disabled people’s needs immediately. We see this as an opportunity to give them a much better experience.”
Charley Bezer, Head of PR at Live Nation, said: “Live Nation started to accept the Access Card for this year’s Download Festival. With the festival already having been accredited with the CredAble ‘Access’ and ‘Provider’ certifications from The Nimbus Quality Mark CredAbility, we think the Access Card is a wonderful product.”
Warwick Davis became aware of the card in the recent Reduced Height Theatre Company tour and sees the value in a scheme like this: “The Access Card has real potential as it recognises that accessing services is about what a provider needs to do to enable a visitor; that people have all kinds of different needs and abilities but the focus is sometimes more on what a disabled person can’t do than how to support them. Access isn’t simply about wheelchair bays and the card can help people communicate this without going into intrusive levels of detail”
Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive of Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, said: “The AiE report pointed to the frustration experienced by customers who have to repeatedly provide proof of disability, so we’ve been looking at ways this process can be streamlined.
“Schemes such as the Access Card reduce the need for customers to provide proof each time they book tickets. This pre-registration system makes the process much simpler when booking again or when booking for other venues or events that accept the card.
“We’re really pleased to see schemes such as the Access Card being adopted and trialled by venues in 2015 as we all continue to work together to improve entertainment ticketing for deaf and disabled customers.”
We’re in the process of updating our websites but in the meantime – if you’re an organisation interested in accepting the Access card and want to know more about how we are able to support you as a business please make contact with firstname.lastname@example.org on 01332 404040
Today we launched Capital FM Ice Arenas ability to accept the Access Card and were pleased to welcome Radio 4 along to do a piece on the work we’re doing.
Joining them are Academy Music Group (O2 Academies), The Download Festival, and coming soon Wembley Arena and the NEC Arena alongside Derby County FC and Nottingham Forest
You can listen to the piece here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04wwkwt and the interview starts at about 7mins 50secs.
Heres a piece of feedback we received from Andy B following the interview we wanted to share:
I would like to say that I fully applaud and support the whole idea of the card, its concept is genius and it’s nationwide implementation may be one of the best things to happen to accessibility
For more information have a browse around this website or feel free to give us a call on 01332 404040 or email email@example.com
The Access Card has, over just 12 months, developed from being nothing more than a sketch on piece of paper to a fully functioning system being integrated into more organizations than we ever thought would have been possible with in such a tight time frame.
The response from providers virtually constantly ends with ‘its a no-brainer’ when faced with a decision of whether or not to implement it into that organisations decision making / public offer. We are also making leaps and strides toward making online ticketing options a reality for disabled people.
It is however great to have those pieces of feedback from customers which remind us that what we’re doing is important and genuinely meaningful to those people being given a choice as to whether to go down the Access Card route or stay with what they currently do. We were recently offered this piece of feedback from a new customer who came across the card by chance thanks to a referral from our friends at Attitude is Everything:
I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts about why I think what you are doing is so important.
Firstly as someone with an invisible disability I had stopped going to most gigs. The fear of potential confrontation, or spoiling the evening of the people I go with over-rode my life long love of live music. In the process I had forgotten how much I had lost. I had somehow bought into the idea that having a social life, doing what I loved, was one demand too far for me to expect to be met. The daily struggles to remain in work, keep parenting my kids, try and be a partner to my husband had taken up all of my possible resources. Just seeing your website reminded me – that not only did I deserve a life, it was a perfectly reasonable expectation.
Secondly, and I know this isn’t the case for everybody, having something that can prove, legitimately, that I have a disability will be a real relief. Having access to reasonable adjustments only defined by benefit rulings that are the product of political decisions by the government is a real problem. It also breaks down the idea that the biggest issue for society raised by people with disabilities is financial. Financial support is only one of many ‘reasonable adjustments’ that need to be made.
So on a dark day, when I felt like I’d lost too much, your site reminded me that I could have a life, and that you are providing one way of people with disability to be recognised. That’s got to be a good thing!
If anybody else out there wants to share their experience of finding the Access Card let me know by mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org what it means to you as your feedback might be what inspires someone else to get involved.
Managing Director of Nimbus Disability; creator of the Access Card
Simon Stevens, well know disability inclusion activist, consultant and writer for the Huffington post has written a brilliant article that includes a piece about the Access Card.
The second example is something very different; something called an ‘Access Card‘. Designed by Credability, a social enterprise run by disabled people in Derby, this is a card like no other because it attempts to be a sort of accessibility passport, quickly informing businesses and other organisations of someone’s specific needs in a hassle free manner. The problem with impairment and disability is that it is complex and the average person can not be expected to know what specific needs people have from just looking at them. But in a world of policies and procedures, many businesses want to ensure they are able to help the right people in the right way in a manner that can not be exploited by others.
So the aim of the scheme is to avoid those pitch fork battles disabled people have proving the needs they have, especially if they have invisible impairments, by assessing people needs, based on the social model barriers, and providing a card that will contain a number of symbols relevant to the needs they have, like using a wheelchair, needing a PA etc. The application is online and painless, with open questions, and assessed on common sense as most disabled people will know what needs make sense or looks made up. The card holder can then present the card to the business when asking for specific assistance and everyone involved knows what is going on.
The scheme is still in its infancy and slowly growing in terms of the number of businesses prepared to recognise it, but it has huge potential to make life easier for a lot of disabled people in a lot of situations, especially when and where their needs are not obvious. What I like about the scheme is that is not about proving someone is disabled, but highlighting the needs they have, however they define themselves, and so avoiding a welfarist focus. I think the scheme will grow and potentially revolutionise the relationship between disabled customers and businesses.
These are just two examples of what happens when disabled people design things for other disabled people, and it is always going to be these ad-hoc flashes of inspiration that will help disabled people in small ways that are only limited by our imagination.
Read the full article here Huffington Post
CredAble organisation Derby Theatre has just had a website revamp and updated its Access Statement to reflect the needs of Access Card Holders and help disabled people quickly and readily identify the different types of help the Theatre are able to provide in accessing shows; including free +1 tickets where needed.
The Galleries of Justice is a fascinating museum looking at the history of Crime and Punishment in Nottingham.
The Museum is committed to providing good services to disabled people which is an exceptional challenge in a building of this nature. Parts of the building remain as they were centuries ago and a well deserved Listed Status with English Heritage places a number of restrictions on their ability to improve accessibility for Disabled Guests.
As such there are portions of the building which are completely inaccessible to guests with certain mobility impairments and wheelchair users. That said the Museum has undertaken significant amounts of work to be able to continue to engage, educate and entertain these guests. This has seen us give the first award of its kind to the Museum: A Partial Pass of their CredAble Access Award.
Those areas of the museum which it was possible to make accessible are now accessible – the front entrance has been impossible to change but improvements at another entrance to the side of the building ensure access is possible.
Nicola Burley, Executive Director at The Galleries of Justice Museum commented:
‘We are delighted to receive the ‘CredAbility’ award as it is a testament to the work carried out by the team here over the last twenty years. During this time we have always endeavoured to present tours and exhibitions that are as accessible as possible in what is an extremely challenging environment. As an organisation we aim to continue to improve the service we offer and take full advantage of the ‘CredAbility’ scheme in order to become accessible to all.
Martin Austin, MD of Nimbus, the company behind CredAbility, said:
The Galleries of Justice Museum is a prime example of what we want to achieve with CredAbility and The Access Card. It may not be perfectly accessible but by the very nature of what it is it won’t be. With CredAbility we can let people know what is available and let them decide for themselves if its suitable for them. The Museum is also happy to offer discounted tickets to all disabled people and also a free +1 ticket for anyone that needs support – The Access Card is the perfect way of demonstrating this need/
Also included in the assessment were the Caves beneath the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. Again, in terms of level access the caves are not and will not ever be able to be made accessible by modern standards, but a proactive approach by the Museum sees them committed to making the experience as accessible as possible. As such the Caves have been awarded with the CredAble Provider Mark, whilst the Galleries of Justice receive CredAble Provider and partial pass on CredAble Access
Charlotte Throssel is Services Manager for Disability Direct Nottingham, a local organisation of Disabled People:
We at Disability Direct are incredibly pleased to see both the Galleries of Justice and Nottingham City of Caves have gained CredAble status. We welcome organisations who take challenging buildings and have had their creative efforts to make the inaccessible, accessible, highlighted and applauded
We have just completed an independent* client satisfaction survey for CredAble Provider DD Payroll Services.
DD Payroll services provides a range of Payroll solutions for disabled people who employ their own personal support, typically those in receipt of a Direct Payment or a Personal Budget.
The survey returned some great satisfaction rates, illustrated easily by the headline figure of 9/10. Customers were asked to rate their overall satisfaction of the Payroll company on a scale of 1 – 10, where 1 is Awful and 10 is Brilliant. The average score of all customers that replied was dead on 9 out of 10.
Other headline rates included:
- 60% of clients have been using the service for more than 3 years
- 74% found DD Payroll Very Good at processing payments on time (19% Good)
- 59% Rated their ability to make contact with Payroll Very Good (26% Good)
- 59% found Payroll Very Good at responding to feedback / enquires (24% Good)
- 67% rated their accuracy as Very Good (19% Good)
- 73% rated politeness of staff Very Good (17% Good)
- 87% of client would definitely recommend DD Payroll Services to a friend (8% Would consider it)
We also collected comments from customers and received feedback such as:
“A very positive experience, especially after the disaster of my first payroll provider – Thank you for doing a great job”
“I am very pleased with DD Payroll because when I started I did not understand and I feel they take away all the pressure of paying carers and make you feel like you’re doing a good job.”
“Always good, prompt service. All call backs made on time! Good service keep it up! Thank you”
“They give me excellent service. I ring or leave a voicemail for them with the hours of my daughters P.A work and they always text me back the next day with the payment I have to pay. If I ring for advice they are very helpful and I trust them”
“DD Payroll were very informative when we first started with them. As our monies are paid through local authority details were quite complex. They answered all our questions and re-assured us.”
The survey is still open and, as CredAble Providers, DD Payroll has made a commitment to be open to all customer feedback and use this to shape and improve their business through comments and suggestions made by customers.
*DD Payroll Services and CredAbility are both organisations related to Charity Disability Direct. The satisfaction survey was conducted with complete professionalism and treated as a fully independent exercise. No client data was shared between the two organisations and no input in the feedback mechanism was had by DD Payroll or Disability Direct Staff.
The above results are based on 100% of all feedback received to date
Following an extensive piece of work to improve accessibility across its 3 sites, Sheffield Industrial museum now welcome the Access Card in order to encourage disabled people to use their accessible services and enjoy some of the rich culture and history of the ‘Steel City’.
The key aim of the Access all Areas project has been to investigate the particular issues posed by industrial museums and heritage sites for visitors with disabilities, to identify solutions where possible and to share our findings widely across the museums sector.
Access Card Holders will now be eligible to concessionary rates as well as free companion entry for those guests that require support. For more information visit the SIMT websites Accessibility Pages http://www.simt.co.uk/accessibility
Open Doors Open Minds
If you want to find out more, the Trust are hosting a conference called Open Doors Open Minds on the 22nd of September where there will be sharing the ups and downs of their journey toward access. We will be there on the day to share more information with you about the Access Card.
Derby County Disabled Supporters Club are offering a limited number of their members a free Access Card.
The supporters club work very closely with Derby County FC on their offer for disabled people and together with the Access Card we are all working to ease access to the sport
Membership of the supporters club is currently free meaning that members old and new can apply for this special offer.
Tim Rees is chair of the Derby County Disabled Supports Club and a card holder himself:
What Martin and his team have created at CredAbility is fantastic and is a definite bonus for all Disabled people. Not only is it a safe and secure way of providing proof it also gives Disabled people information about accessible venues and businesses around Derby and the UK, plus it saves you money too.
As Chairman of Derby County Disabled Supporters Club we have been behind this initiative from the start, and we’re really pleased to see that DCFC and other Disabled friendly businesses are coming on board. If you’re a Rams fan there’s even better news when you join the DCDSC for FREE we are giving away a FREE CredAbility Card. However, we do only have a limited number of the cards available so I encourage you to download your DCDSC membership form and send it to us ASAP. With FREE Membership and a FREE CredAbility Card it’s definitely a Win- Win, which is what we hope Derby County’s season will be Look forward to seeing you at our next DCDSC Social – Take care”
Tim Rees Chairman – DCDSC
Emma Drury, the DCFC Disabled and Junior Members Administrator says
Derby County are continually striving to provide a high level of customer service and are very proud to promote and support the Access Card Scheme.
This card will enable disabled supporters to communicate with us discreetly and efficiently, regarding any support/requirements they may need, without having to go into too much detail.
The iPro Stadium offers great accessible facilities and services for disabled supporters and it is very important to us that our disabled supporters have a great match day experience and are able to enjoy everything we have to offer”