A look back at what The Access Card Team has been up to this year.
Foreword from our Managing Director:
“It is safe to say that 2020 has been a year like no other. Amongst the uncertainties and their accompanying anxieties, we have witnessed kindness and love within our communities. Whether people have collected shopping for their elderly neighbours or phoned up a friend to check they are okay, this year has in many ways shown us the goodness that exists in society.
“There has also been a greater focus on Mental Health Awareness and understanding how to support one another during these unusual times.
“These new changes have also brought about great opportunities for The Access Card; from launching in New Zealand to some work we have in progress, as we speak, to create a more accessible shopping experience for disabled people, thanks to funding from the National Lottery.
“Personally my main priority for the organisation right now is to make sure that cardholders have plenty to look forward to when we have the opportunity to socialise and enjoy ourselves again.
“The team as ever are hard at work filling our database with lots of exciting adventures for you and your loved ones so please do make sure to continue reading for just a few of the highlights from a year that seems so full of low points.
“I hope you all have a peaceful and safe break and we can’t wait to hear what you all get up to with your cards in 2021 in our Facebook Group.”Martin Austin MBE
Managing Director of Nimbus Disability
Moving into 2021, we’re taking stock of 2020 and would like to wish all of you a very safe Christmas and a Happy New Year and say thanks for your continued support. We look forward to the new opportunities the New Year will bring.
The year 2020 started off with a bang. We were very proud to announce that our Managing Director, Martin, had appeared in the New Year’s Honours List and awarded an MBE for his incredible work with The Access Card.
The Access Card Team also continued to recruit more venues & attractions and passed the 1000 providers mark in our directory.
Moving into February, we hit the ground running, as we saw a great increase in the number of new providers wishing to join our Access Card Scheme.
Back in March, the country was put into a national lockdown, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. The Access Card Team provided links to advice & support pages, as well a guide on how to register for support and ‘how to survive isolation’.
Merlin Entertainments was one of the many new providers we recruited in March. We were delighted to announce our partnership with the famous amusement parks and that Access Card Holders could now use their Access Cards to gain a Ride Access Pass.
In April, The Access Card Team relocated to the Home Office – sorry – their offices at home! And although we couldn’t properly see one another face-to-face, we were still able to take advantage of technology and have regular video calls to keep in touch.
To show our appreciation for all the carers up and down the UK, especially during these strange times, we also reduced the price of our Carer Cards – from £15 to £10 for 2 years and received lots of applications from people wishing to obtain a card.
In May, our small team got even smaller as half of us were furloughed. Again this didn’t stop us from being able to see one another thanks to the wonderful invention of Google Meet!
In July, due to popular demand, The Access Card Team introduced a new feature to the Access Card – the ‘Mask Exemptions’ symbol. This symbol would be used by Access Card Holders to show that they have a legitimate & verified reason for exemption if they would otherwise have difficulty with wearing a face covering.
Whilst we may not have been able to enjoy the summer in ways we normally would have done, The Access Card Team still received great feedback from cardholders who had used their Access Card to enjoy days out to their favourite venues & attractions.
As a result, we were able to welcome lots of new Access Card Providers to our directory.
Our Managing Director, Martin, also took part in an interview with Martyn Sibley, where he talked about the Access Card.
And our Marketing Assistant, Carys, completed her Digital Marketing Apprenticeship.
September brought about greater focus and attention to providing awareness and clarity around mask exemption, as the Government announced that the wearing of a face covering in shops and on public transport was to become mandatory.
In conjunction with the Government Guidelines, The Access Card Team continued to make people aware of a new ‘mask symbol’ for Access Card Holders to show they have a legitimate & verified reason for exemption if they would otherwise have difficulty with wearing a face covering.
And, of course, we also introduced lots of new Access Card Providers to our directory.
The month of October certainly kept the Access Card on its toes, as we saw an influx of new Access Card Providers and shared our involvement with the creation of the Audience Access Alliance.
With the announcement of The Access Card’s partnership with Merlin Entertainments back in March, The Access Card Team provided a guide on how to use your Access Card to gain a Ride Access Pass through either Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Thorpe Park or Legoland Windsor Resort.
It is safe to say that the month of November kept the Access Card Team very busy for many different reasons. Firstly, we welcomed new Access Card Providers to our directory & shared information about exciting festive events, such as, ‘Celebrate Christmas at Chessington’ and the Naidex update.
The Access Card Team was also very proud to announce the official launch of the Hāpai Access Card in New Zealand by our friends at The Hāpai Foundation, which included National TV coverage. We look forward to our future work with the New Zealand-based organisation.
As we entered the festive season, our directory continued to expand, as more venues & attractions recognised the Access Card and received great feedback from our Access Card Holders.
The Access Card Team also created an Access Card Advent Calendar to share with you all during the run up to Christmas (chocolate not included!).
Despite the strange year we have all had, there has been much progress for the Access Card and we are excited to see what the New Year will bring for us all.
We would also like to show our appreciation for all frontline workers, especially during these strange times. Thank you.
Love From The Access Card Team x