A Derby-based social enterprise company, which is run by disabled people for disabled people, has been formally presented with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise by His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire Mrs Elizabeth Fothergill CBE and Deputy Lord-Lieutenant Tony Walker CBE.
Nimbus Disability, based in Pride Park, has been recognised in The Queen’s Award Innovation category for the development of their Access Card scheme.
The Access Card is held by more than 100,000 people in the UK and beyond who register their accessibility requirements.
Powered by ‘NOS’, Nimbus Disability’s bespoke software, The Access Card system translates its holder’s disability/impairment/access requirements into symbols highlighting the barriers they face.
When booking tickets online, the Nimbus Operating System informs providers quickly and discreetly about the access requirements that individuals need without sharing further information about them with the venue.
This has vastly improved access for disabled people who previously had to provide benefit entitlement letters or invasive amounts of personal information each time they booked tickets for festivals, cinemas, sports matches and more.
The Access Card is already widely recognised at major venues across the UK and beyond including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The London Eye, Disneyland Paris, The O2 Arena and Alton Towers.
Notable overseas venues which have recognised and responded to cardholder needs include The Louvre in Paris, The Uffizi Gallery in Florence and Chicago’s Willis Tower.
The company created the bespoke Access Card under the leadership of Martin Austin MBE who has been an amputee since his diagnosis of cancer as a teenager.
He said: “As disabled people ourselves, our mission at Nimbus and with our Access Card scheme is to provide a universal, digitised way of communicating all verified access requirements, from eligibility to companion tickets to the necessity for wheelchair-accessible facilities.
“Our system enables each access requirement flagged to be integrated directly into ticketing systems to remove the need to continually call ‘special’ booking lines’ and fill in ‘special’ booking forms or answer personal and invasive questions over the phone.
“Ultimately our operating system lessens the administrative burden on disabled people at the same time as opening up equality of access to online ticketing solutions from West End theatres to theme parks.”
Mr Austin continued: “It was a huge honour to be awarded the Grant of Appointment by the Lord-Lieutenant on behalf of The King and I am proud to accept this award on behalf of our fantastic and dedicated team.
“This is the highest and most prestigious award that can be granted to a business in the UK and we are very proud to now be displaying The Queen’s Award emblem.
“Since we received notification of the award, we have welcomed a wealth of new corporate clients to the scheme and a marked increase in the number of new Access Card applications.
“With this recognition and the increased profile for the Access Card, our goal is to continue to break down the barriers facing all disabled people not just here in the UK but worldwide.”
The Nimbus Disability team were joined at the Grant of Approval ceremony by early adopters of the Access Card including The Ticket Factory which was the first company in the UK and one of the first in the world to offer a true online sales experience for disabled customers.
General Manager Gareth Coleman explained: “Working with Nimbus through The Access Card means that our team do not need to have awkward conversations with customers about their accessibility requirements.
“Our partnership ensures the right tickets are sold to the right people and that we are able to provide all of our customers with the online service they want.
“Our partnership is a literal godsend for everyone involved and I am proud that we are at the forefront of this service for disabled people.”
The event also heard from Tom Pursglove MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, who pre-recorded a message.
He said: “Nimbus is doing fantastic work in providing businesses with expert advice on how to better meet the needs of disabled people. This specialist knowledge is vital in increasing accessibility for disabled people across a range of sectors.
“The award is well deserved and I look forward to hopefully working with Nimbus in the future to continue making a meaningful difference to disabled people’s lives.
After the formal presentation, guests met some of the staff and volunteers who operate the Access Card system and saw the process in action.
Mrs Fothergill concluded: “Nimbus Disability were one of only 48 companies nationally to be recognised with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation last year and should be congratulated on this prestigious achievement.
“The Access Card is a life-enhancing innovation and this award recognises it as an outstanding British brand.”