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”
We recently exhibited at Disability Directs Do What You Want: Live! in Nottingham and had a star come out to help us promote the Card!
Read a Guest Blog about the Access Card written by Martin for the Independent Living Website.
Nottinghamshire County Council has now closed new applications to its Disabled Peoples ID Card Scheme.
The Councils scheme originally came about thanks to Arnold Resident Terry Gallagher. Mr Gallagher has hidden impairments which mean that whilst he may not look like a disabled person he does require the use of accessible facilities.
Early last year the Council met with Social Enterprise Nimbus; a disability related consultancy. Nimbus were developing a new Card for disabled people which actually addressed the individual needs of a person and could be used in conjunction with organisations that required evidence or wanted to promote special offers to Disabled People. The Access Card was warmly received by Terry and Paul McKay Service Director at Nottinghamshire County Council:
We were the first local authority to introduce a disabled identification card when Terry approached us with the idea back in 2008. We hope that our existing card users will take advantage of the initial offer period and will enjoy the additional benefits the new scheme will provide.”
Mr Gallagher has now replaced his Council Issued Card for the new Access Card:
Martin Austin, Managing Director of Nimbus says;
The Access Card scheme is about much more than just saying ‘I’m Disabled’. It’s a third party assessment of a persons legal protection under the equality act and a tool for quickly telling organisations about the support you need without the potential embarrassment of going into lots of detail about medical conditions.”
The cards usual cost is £15 for 3 years but Nottinghamshire County Council have negotiated a half term offer lasting until the 17th July.
You can find out more about the card by visiting the website www.credability.uk.com/access-card or coming down to the Do What You Want: Live event at Nottingham Conference Centre on the 16th July from 10am where the Access Card will be hosting a stand and can help with your application.
For more information call Disability Direct Nottingham on 0115 958 3948