A disabled-led company has won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for an “innovative” system that makes it easier for disabled people to secure the adjustments they need when attending entertainment venues.
The award for its Access Card, approved by both the prime minister and the Queen, means Nimbus will be able to fly the Queen’s Awards flag at its Derby offices, and can use the awards emblem on its products and stationery for the next five years.
The training and consultancy service, a not-for-profit social enterprise, started working on the Access Card in 2013.
The card includes symbols that summarise the disabled person’s access requirements, with each symbol based on their rights under the Equality Act.
It informs service-providers “quickly and discreetly” about the support the disabled person needs, preventing them from having to go into lengthy detail about their requirements.
It is accepted at UK venues such as Westminster Abbey, The O2 Arena, Buckingham Palace and Alton Towers, and international venues such as The Louvre in Paris.
The Access Card can also be used by ticketing companies to make the booking process easier for disabled customers.
Martin Austin, managing director of Nimbus, came up with the idea for the Access Card, and part of its profits are ploughed back into the charity Disability Direct, where he used to work as a welfare rights officer, and which was responsible for setting up the social enterprise.
Austin said the award was “an overwhelmingly welcome signal of recognition”.
He said he hoped it would be “a catalyst for all of those sitting on the fence of working with us to understand what we have to offer and take our work as seriously as we do”.
Suzanne Bull, chief executive of the user-led charity Attitude is Everything, which campaigns to improve disabled people’s access to live music, said the Access Card had “created real and lasting change”.
She said: “The card gives people a simple means to book the access they require to attend events and attractions during the ticket-buying process, and organisers a scheme to place their trust in and use to enable seamless online booking.
“The impact has been felt far and wide across both audiences and ticketed industries.”
Jonathan Brown, chief executive of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, also welcomed the award.
He said: “It is an excellent and trusted solution for anyone looking to improve access to tickets and events for disabled people.
“I am so pleased that Nimbus is receiving this award for its pioneering work.”
Picture: Martin Austin (second from right) and Nimbus colleague Greg Johnson (far right) at an event promoting the Access Card
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