Martin Austin awarded MBE in Queen’s New Year Honours List

Martin Austin awarded MBE in Queen’s New Year Honours List

Martin created Nimbus, a Derby-based Social Enterprise in 2006 as a way to generate additional income for the sister Charity Disability Direct and provide tailored Business-to-Business advice on the requirements of the Equality Act.

Amo Raju, CEO of Disability Direct and Martins original line manager and mentor celebrated the award:

“Disability Direct is so proud of Martins recognition as an ambassador and champion of disabled people. This is truly a great achievement and we hope this inspires a whole generation to make a difference to communities across the city and the UK as a whole”.

Over the years Nimbus has developed and delivered a range of consultancy services to businesses ranging from University’s, NHS Trusts, Premiership Football Clubs to Festivals, Arenas and Theatres.

Nimbus’ work culminated in the creation of the Access Card scheme which continues to grow at an exponential rate with support from organisations such as STAR and Attitude is Everything.

Jonathan Brown the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers CEO said; “It is fantastic news that Martin is being honoured for his excellent work. All venues, events and attractions should rely on the Access Card as evidence of access requirements, as well as helping them meet their legal responsibilities in making reasonable adjustments when welcoming disabled people and selling them tickets. 

“It continues to be an absolute pleasure to work in partnership with Martin and the team at Nimbus and we look forward to seeing the Access Card flourish even further in 2020.”

The Access Card is an innovative way for disabled people and businesses to communicate access needs and provision through a series of symbols, a free online ‘Box Office’ validation tool and/or a sophisticated digital integration into 3rd party systems.

Combinations of these are used by household names such as TicketMaster, Glastonbury, The O2 and many many more.

Earlier in 2019 The Access Card, together with The Ticket Factory won an Attitude is Everything “Ticketing Without Barriers” Award for their groundbreaking partnership on Accessible Ticketing for Disabled Customers.

Richard Howle, Director of Ticketing at the NEC Group, said:

“I am extremely proud of the work that The Ticket Factory does with The Access Cards to improve accessibility for ticket buyers with access needs and I am absolutely thrilled that this has been recognised.

Leading up to the official announcement of the New Years Honours, recipients of an award receive a letter confirming their inclusion in the list: in the strictest of confidence. Martin describes the experience of receiving this letter:

“There was the usual bundle of mail on my desk when I got into the office. After a little while of going through emails etc out of the corner of my eye I noticed a letter from the Cabinet Office. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the envelope.

“I had to read the letter a few times but couldn’t really take it in. Was it spam?! Eventually, it sank in and I was just… speechless!

Martin’s efforts are not limited to his paid role at Nimbus and the development of the Access Card. He has also for the last 10 years + volunteered his spare time to Disability Sport as Chair and player for local Wheelchair Basketball team Derby Wheelblazers, a role which includes everything from fundraising to making 20 rounds of sandwiches on match days! Martin for a short time also represented Great Britain in Para-Hockey; the Paralympic version of Ice Hockey

For the last 3 years, ha has voluntarily coached the University of Nottingham’s team which recently resulted in him being named Volunteer of the Year.

What does the award mean to Martin? He said:

“I’m incredibly proud of the Honour but for me, it’s not really about recognition of work that has already been done, but hopefully a tool to take what we’ve done with the Access Card scheme to it’s fullest potential.

“I have to thank Gavin, an Access Cardholder and volunteer at Disability Direct for the nomination and everyone that works so hard alongside me to keep the wheels turning.

“It’s also vital to acknowledge the work that’s gone before us. Before Nimbus or indeed Disability Direct (est. 1993) were even set up.

“I’ve been involved in this movement for nearly 20 years and recognise that it’s a long slow slog improving society for disabled people.

“It is only by working together and building on what has gone before that we will effect real change.”

The full citation in The Gazette, the official newspaper of the Crown, can be found here

Notes for Editors

  • Nimbus Disability is a Social Enterprise which donates all surplus to a charity of and for disabled people
  • The Access Card is a nationally recognised scheme and usually costs £15 for 3 years.
  • It has 25,000 members across the UK and beyond
  • Organisations working directly with the Access Card can be found on our directory but it is important to note that the card is regularly taken at face value by organisations not listed.
  • Images can be made available on request
  • All media enquiries of Nimbus can be made to Martin Austin, 0330 808 5108