We love the idea of “Access all Areas” and are thrilled with this new idea for going off road.
There are a few products out there which really change the meaning of accessibility. We have previously looked at the Mountain Trike and Wheelchair Skiing. Here we’re looking at the fantastic work of Simon Mulholland, the developer of the iBex Saddlechariot and the Pony Access scheme, which provides, as his Twitter bio attests, ‘Access to ponies, Access with ponies. Disability, ability, who cares, ponies don’t.’
The iBex Saddlechariot is an innovative creation which allows wheelchair users to be pulled along safely by ponies, allowing them access to a wide range of sights and scenes which would previously have been impossible without significant help or at all for some types of wheelchair. The iBex Saddlechariot has been used to take people on trips all over the place, covering rocky terrain, beaches and water.
A Closer Look at the iBex Saddlechariot
The iBex has been designed with safety as its main concern. It is a wheelchair enabled pony-drawn all-terrain vehicle which allows wheelchair users to access the countryside on any path they choose, in a similar way to how a rider of a quad bike could and even in some places where you can’t even reach with a squad.
The design seems so simple but once you look closer there are a range of features which show just how effective the iBex is. The most important is the instant release system which releases the pony and renders the iBex stationary, brakes applied, ensuring the complete safety of the user of the iBex. The instant release system is activated by the simple pull of a rope and it can even be operated remotely, ensuring that carers, guardians or pony handlers can activate the system is the user isn’t able to.
The best thing about the iBex is that is designed for use with wheelchairs. It hasn’t been modified or changed to accommodate wheelchair users, it was always designed with them in mind.
Any Wheelchair, Anywhere!
The iBex is designed to work with absolutely any wheelchair, with both manual chairs and power chairs easily accommodated. Modifications can be made for each chair and a quick look at all the different images that @ponyaccess shares will show you people of all shapes and sizes enjoying the iBex and having a fantastic time.
Much like the universal design of the product, where you can go is also (almost) limitless. Some terrain is obviously dangerous (deep mud, swampland) but beyond that you can enjoy almost anywhere from the comfort of the iBex. Sand, slopes and rocky terrain are no problem and it is possible to enjoy English Heritage sites which have been kept from people using wheelchairs for many years.
As this video shows, plenty of fun and plenty of environments can be enjoyed from the comfort of the iBex.
— Simon Mulholland (@ponyaccess) January 17, 2015
Festival season might seem a lifetime away, but in only a few months the Disability Rocks schedule of festival events will descend upon us, supporting music and the arts for people of all ages and disabilities.
Founder Richard Sutton noticed that though the positive experiences of arts and music that go hand in hand with a festival could help support the development of his son, who lives with a rare chromosome disorder, there didn’t seem to be any such event in place that could cater to his needs. Practical involvement in the arts and music can have a positive impact to peoples’ lives: building confidence, challenging the mind and simply having fun is a necessity in life. And so, in early 2012, Disability Rocks was born.
Disability Rocks 2014
Previous years have seen many famous acts including comedian Francesca Martinez of Extras fame and many musicians and artists for adults and children of all ages to enjoy. Here’s a video of Francesca’s performance in 2013:
Disability Rocks Festival events are confirmed in four locations this summer. You can attend Disability Rocks in the Midlands in Kibworth on 12th July, Disability Rocks in the North in Ilkley on 7th June, Disability Rocks in the South West in Cornwall on 1st June and Disability Rocks in the South East in Essex on 28th June 2014. Tickets for the events start at £10 and children under 5 can go free.
Tickets can be bought here:
Trabasack at Disability Rocks
The Trabasack is a combination lap tray and travel bag which, at just under 800g, is lightweight and practical, while remaining comfortable too. We’ve talked about the quality of the product as a holiday essential but it’s also a handy accessory for disabled festival goers too. The secure bag zips up around the side, giving you a safe place to keep festival essentials like money, sun cream and, of course, a camera to capture the memories. As the Trabasack Curve moulds comfortably around your waist, your bag is always right where you need it, with no danger of getting lost.
Owners of a Trabasack also receive the benefit of a built in table. If you buy a drink or a snack at Disability Rocks, you don’t want to be awkwardly trying to carry it around when needing full use of both hands. Simply place it on your sturdy lap tray, utilise your wipe clean, non-slip mat – and enjoy the use of both hands when carrying your drinks and snacks around with you.
Another great use for the Trabasack lap tray is to use it as a practical surface for artistic activities or even writing your own notes on the festival. Whether it’s noting the name of a band you enjoyed and don’t want to forget about or a surface for drawing or any activity you’ve got some involvement in, the wide and sturdy surface is ideal as a comfortable and useful table that you carry around with you.
The Trabasack is an innovative and practical solution to your lap tray and travel bag needs, with a comfortable beanbag cushion and a secure section for your belongings. Take a whole look at our range here and order your Trabasack in time for the festival.
And please send us your pics! Please leave a comment below.
See Trabasack At Moving On!
We’re proud to announce that the Trabasack team will be attending and exhibiting at Moving On – The Accessible Transport Symposium in Coventry. The event is bringing together individuals in the field of inclusive transport. We’re thrilled to be involved in the event. It takes place on 23rd and 24th November at Coventry Transport Museum. The project brings together a number of different organisations including Connect Culture, Coventry University, Transport for All and Disability History Month.
Accessible Transport for All, Everywhere
Accessible transport issues are big stories in the media recently, for example, we’ve seen a landmark result for accessible transport in the UK. Doug Paulley, a wheelchair user, took First Bus Group to court after he was told by the driver of a bus that he couldn’t get on. This was due to a pushchair user refusing to move from the dedicated wheelchair space. First Bus Group describe their policy as ‘first come first serve’ but this was challenged in court. Paulley received £5,500 in compensation with First Bus Group given 6 months to make changes to their policy. This is a huge step forward for accessible and inclusive transport.
Moving On will look at how we can move forward and also discuss other important points for the inclusive transport field.
Round Table Discussion
The Round Table discussion is taking place on the 23rd November and runs from 1pm to 4.30pm. The discussion involves many key figures in the industry. Speakers include individuals who are used to the difficulties posed when travelling on public transport in as a wheelchair user or somebody with disabilities.
Coventry Transport Museum will be the main exhibitors showing a range of the vehicles from their collection. They’ll be putting together a special display about the history of road transport for people with disabilities. There are also plans for a display documenting the campaign for accessible public transport.
Trabasack will be one of the many other small companies and charities that will be joining the event and participation in the exhibition. We will have our products for sale and be showing how our product range is ideal for travelling on public transport. If you, your charity or business would like to exhibit at the event, please leave a comment below and we will get straight back to you.
Win a Trabasack in the Video Competition
One of the highlights of the event that you can get involved with right away is the Video Competition. It’s open to all under 25s who fancy themselves a great film maker and want the chance to win some fantastic prizes.
The challenge is to create a 5×5 video and publish it online. The theme of the video should be: “your idea about the future of accessible transport to enhance your independent living.”
Showcase your creativity and add the experience to your CV. The competition closes on 15th November and the judges will then choose from the entries and pick their winners. Under 16s must get permission from their parents before entering.
The lucky competition winners will win one of the many prizes organised. They include an accessible holiday for four in France for seven days as well as a Trabasack Curve and Trabasack Max and the organisation team are still getting more prizes together.
If you’ve got something to say about accessible transport and access to camera, even on your mobile phone then give it a go and you’ll probably be surprised at the results. Full details are here http://moat2013.org.uk/video-challenge/
Here is an example of the type of 5×5 video that the judges will be looking for
About the Project Co-Ordinator
The Moving On Accessible Transport Project is co-ordinated by Eleanor Lisney. Eleanor owns Connect Culture and works on a freelance basis with a special interest in accessibility and inclusive design. She’s also a loyal Trabasaxon!
Eleanor has used public transport around the world and has clear insights into how improvements could be made for the needs of people with disabilities.
We’re looking forward to Moving On and are sure some important and difficult questions will be posed and discussed. Book your tickets for the round table discussion for free and get involved in the debate.
Leicestershire-based social enterprise and design company, Equip-able Ltd are due to take part in the 2013 annual Naidex National exhibition, held between the 30th April and 2nd of May at the NEC Birmingham. Naidex National sees consumers and traders alike flock from around the country to view the UK’s largest selection of disability, home care and rehabilitation products.
Equip-able Ltd are experienced veterans of the Naidex exhibition, having attended each annual event for a number of years to showcase their range of inclusive, innovative and attractive products.
The most notable creation in the Equip-able Ltd catalogue remains the Trabasack – a unique travel bag that includes a built-in lap desk on one side. This ingenious invention provides a sturdy and steady tray surface that can be used for everything from dining to work, and has revolutionised the lives of many wheelchair users from around the globe.
One of Trabasack’s loyal fans (affectionately known as “Trabasaxons”) explains how the Trabasack lap tray and bag changed her life:
“Trabasack Curve works very well as a power chair tray… It’s the best tray I’ve ever had. I use it multiple times a day, every day – I can even eat soup on it. Thank you for sharing [The Trabasack] with the USA, it’s such a blessing!”
Jodi – Power chair and Trabasack user, USA
The combination of usability, ingenuity and inclusive design has garnered praise from not only its fan base of world-wide users, but also from those in the healthcare and disability sectors.
The Trabasack lap desk and bag creators won the BHTA Independent Living Design Award in 2009 and really caught the eye of the judging panel at the 2011 Naidex National, when they scooped the honourable Style Award for showcasing one the most stylish, fresh and modern products to be displayed at the exhibit.
Describing the aim of the award, Event Director Liz Virgo commented, “We feel that the Naidex Style Awards will show all visitors that it is possible to find stylish solutions for independent living, something that is becoming increasingly important. People are not only looking for products that function well and make life easier, but also products that look good, be that items of clothing, home equipment or mobility aids.”
There have been significant changes for the Equip-able Ltd team since the last annual Naidex, with 2012/13 seeing them expand their reach across the Amazon selling platform to Europe, namely Germany and France, and the development of their Australian sales plans, including a new stockist and website.
In terms of product development, 2013 also sees Equip-able Ltd launch the newest member of the Trabasack lap desk bag family – the Max. The Trabasack Max includes all the fantastic features and usability of its sibling lap desk bags, but has been developed with a larger internal capacity, ideal for travel, business trips and carrying larger equipment such as 15.6″ laptops.
The Trabasack Max features an upgrade in both size and aesthetics, lined with deep burgundy satin and finished in either pure black or with a genuine Harris Tweed trim, making the Max the most luxurious and stylish Trabasack to date.
Equip-able Ltd are also set to launch their new online store, Equipped 4 Life “Equ4L.com” – a boutique style store featuring a range of innovative and inclusive gadgets and products. Equ4L.com will be the first boutique store of its product genre and target market, and will be showcased at both the Naidex National 2013 and 30th anniversary Mobility Roadshow, held between 27th-29th June at the Telford International Centre.
This year’s Equip-able Ltd stand will not only feature their Trabasack lap desk bags, but also a selection of third-party inclusive products, including Bibetta neckerchiefs and pashminas, along with the highly acclaimed Greeper range of shoes laces.
The Bibetta range of neckerchiefs and pashminas are stylish clothing protectors designed with fashion and inclusion in mind. Each garment comes in a range of sizes and styles, including a large colour and pattern palette, providing the ultimate in inclusive usability.
The Greeper range of shoe laces are a multiple award-winning design, created to ensure that one they have been tied, they never come undone. This provides much-needed assurance to those with mobility issues, and for those with disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty tying their laces.
The Greeper laces are fashionable and stylish, coming not only in a large range of colours, but also an extensive range of styles; from sports-style to formal-style laces, Greeper have designed a lace to suit every shoe and occasion.
The Naidex National disability, home care and rehabilitation exhibition will be held at the NEC Birmingham, between 30th April and 2nd May, 2013.
Show times are 10:00 – 17:00 Tuesday 30th April and Wednesday 1st May, and 10:00 – 16:00 Thursday 2nd May.
Equip-able Ltd will be situated in the Market Place area of the NEC Birmingham, Stand c161.
What is a good bag for hospital visits?
If you find yourself spending a lot of time at hospital appointments, whether it’s just for frequent checkups or longer stays, you’ll realise the importance of having a specific hospital bag, for use on these occasions. In this bag you need to keep records of your prescriptions, current medication and all your usual bits and pieces from your glasses to magazines for reading during your long stays in waiting rooms (we all know the mags on offer are usually at least 10 years old!). Many people who regularly visit hospitals for outpatients or emergency visits like to have a bag packed and ready to go.
Packing a bag ready for a hospital stay
Having your hospital bag ready is always good if you suffer from any number of conditions but particularly those which mean you end up in hospital more often than you would like and often overnight. A designated hospital bag means you’re always ready when one of these accidents or emergencies occur.
What should I take to Hospital?
We suggest bringing the following:
- Loose fitting comfortable clothes -day wear is more dignified than pajamas, but you will need something cool for the night time as well!
- Socks and slippers. Flip flops are very good too.
- Glasses. If you wear contact lens, you might consider taking glasses instead, as they are more practical in a dry hospital environment.
- Loose warm clothes for the journey home. Depending on the purpose of your visit, you may need different clothes than usual, for example after surgery or casts.
- Personal toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving items and brushes. Soap and shampoo is provided but you may prefer your own.
- A copy of your prescription list along with your usual medicines and supplements.
- Your mobile phone and a charger (hospitals usually charge for phone calls)
- Entertainment such as books, music, Ipod, portable DVD player, magazines
We believe Trabasack is the perfect hospital bag because of its multi-functionality. As well as providing a spacious area for you to store everything you might need for a hospital trip, it also acts as a comfy lap tray so you can complete your crossword puzzles or other hobbies at ease as you wait for your appointments. Equally, the tray facility means you can comfortably sit up in your hospital bed and eat, drink or read using your Trabasack’s handy tray surface. Both flat and secure, you need not worry about spilling or dropping anything.
Staying in hospital can be stressful enough without having to worry about keeping all your things safe and at hand.
Suggestions from Twitter: Things to take to Hospital
We also saw a tweet where trabasack owner @OneoffDave was preparing for a hospital visit and asked for suggestions from fellow tweeters:
The list he was given included
Pyjamas, dressing gown, slippers, socks, flannel, towel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, squash, biscuits, music, books, laptop, pen, paper, Decent blanket, decent pillow, list of allergies and emergency contact
OneoffDave also replied with
Other suggestions included
a teasmaid, your own wheelchair and lock, a blanket, a laptop/money to watch tv, towel to hang over Lansley on tv if you dont
phone, music & earplugs, a lovely fleece cardigan, phone charger (& phone), a Kindle, real books, dressing gown, wash bag, Biscuits/snacks, your own towel and puzzle magazines.
And finally from us:
If you have any other suggestion for useful things to take for a short stay in hospital, please leave a comment below.
Trabasack to attend the Choice Unlimited Event
Trabasack is pleased to announce that they will be attending the Choice Unlimited event. Choice Unlimited Leicester is a new event aimed at disabled people, particularly young people, who want to find out about the services and options in their area. It will be held at the Leicester Tigers Stadium on the 21st November 2012, 10am – 6pm.
What is Choice Unlimited?
Choice Unlimited is a free event and everyone is welcome. Disabled young people and young people with additional needs will find this event especially interesting as ‘Choice Unlimited is an opportunity to find out about information, services, products, ideas, innovation, education and employment.’ Parents, professionals and carers who work as service providers for them are encouraged to come along too.
This event particularly focuses on the ‘Transition Period’ which occurs when people are aged between 14 – 25 years old. It’s a time of life when young people make sometimes momentous decisions about the life they wish to lead, the jobs they would like and where they want to settle. Choice Unlimited aims to be a resource for young people who are in the midst of these choices and who often still need the support from services that are appropriate to their needs.
Who will be at the Event?
Trabasack will have a stand and the full range of their award winning lapdesk bags will be available. There will also be over 160 exhibitors offering information and advice on: services, innovation, education, training, communications, wheelchair accessible vehicles, leisure and much more. Voluntary and service organisations will be there too, with details on support, publications and holidays to name a few of the subjects covered. Trabasack will be at table 13 in the Products and Services Area.
If you’re someone with a ‘have a go!’ attitude, you might be interested in Choice Unlimited’s program of activities. Get your pulse racing with a game of wheelchair rugby or perhaps roar around a race track with a driving simulator. Should you prefer a more relaxed day, you’d be wise to consider the facials and pampering sessions that are on offer too.
Special Guest: Matt Hampson
For those of you who, like us, are big fans, Matt Hampson will be at the event! Matt Hampson is the Tigers Rugby player who is also patron of the Special Effect charity that helps disabled gamers.
There are workshops on various topics. If you’re involved with supporting young people through this transition period it helps to be aware of what is available for them and for you. These workshops will help you to give the best choices to the people you work with.
See You There!
The Trabasack team would love to meet you and if you make your way over to the Products and Services area you’ll find us there. Our products are designed to be able to be used by anyone and are especially useful to some disabled people, particularly wheelchair users, people with communication aids, and disabled children. Our company aim of assisting social inclusion for people with disabilities, if you would like advice or to find out more about what we do, we’ll be happy to help out. Looking forward to seeing you on the day!
If you would like to find out more about the other exhibitors at the event the main website for Choice Unlimited can be found here.
Matt can be seen in the video below from the previous Choice Unlimited event that was held in April 2012
Eight disability entrepreneurs have come together to launch a business network group hoping to boost their position in a tough market and offer their customers the benefits of greater openness and innovative problem-solving products and services.
The network is bringing together six people with Spinal Cord Injuries, a wife of a spinal cord injured man, and two friends who wanted to share their passion for outdoor adventure with a friend with a disability. In the group are eight disability companies. They offer many products and services including the innovative one-arm wheelchair drive, wheelchair jeans, gripping aids for people with limited dexterity, specialist disability counselling and active rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries.
“Being disabled makes running a business much harder. By joining together we are finding ways to overcome many problems so we can achieve more. We push hard to create practical changes. It works because we are user-led. Our products and services come from personal experiences of disability and have won many awards,” says Steve Dent, 36, MD of Spokz – a tetraplegic since a freak accident aged 10, when a knitting needle went into his neck.
Disability is a big topic right now and there is so much negativity surrounding it. We are told that the UK needs more entrepreneurs. And here are eight young businesses which have all set up during the recession, all with personal experience of disability set on making a difference.
“This year has such exciting lead stories with the Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics. The message seems to be that more can be achieved together; that hard work and integrity get results which make people proud,” says Mark Owen at Nomad Wheelchairs, who broke his neck in a motorbike accident.
“I’m massively excited about this,” says Guy Harris, 37, who was paralysed from the waist down after being hit by a lorry in 2003. He set up DisabledGear .com, a free online service for buying and selling second hand disability equipment when he realised the cost of equipment prevented many people from living reasonable lives. “2012 is full of opportunity: having the support of others in a similar position allows me to do more for my website users and customers. And I’ve been picked to be a Paralympic Torch Bearer!”
As Paralympian Tanni Grey Thompson said on twitter recently “Need disabled people to run services. They would know more about it!”
The team at Trabasack are extremely proud to announce their involvement and membership of the brand new Kandu Group. A brand new group created by eight like-minded organisations, Kandu group is a completely original and new type of trade association which has been set up to promote ethical, moral and friendly principles in business, particularly in the care and mobility sectors.
KanduGroup exists to change the “Grey haired men in Polo shirts” approach to healthcare business. As a group comprised of disabled entrepreneurs, Kandu group endeavours to put value and peer recommendation before profit chasing and clinical or stigmatising business practice. Many of the members have their own unpleasant experiences of healthcare purchases, services and attitudes.The group has a desire to bring people with disabilities to the forefront of services and business in the healthcare sector.
KanduGroup represents real people not big corporations and career climbers with little personal connection or understanding of the people behind the disabilities they are attempting to serve. Kandu Group sees things differently and this is why Trabasack are so proud to be involved. With personal and user perspective on the industry, all organisations involved are committed to ensuring people who are at vulnerable stages of their lives are not coerced into buying things they don’t need.
Kandu Group is Different
Members of the Kandu Group understand the difficulty in coming to terms with a new disability or illness and understand the feelings of denial and adjustment that are sometimes involved. With this in mind, customers can have complete trust in this new organisation, who are working towards ethical and reputable goals, and maintaining a group reputation. Kandugroup members genuinely want to provide you with good products and services that can genuinely improve the quality of your life.
In addition to this aim, the group are also keen to highlight their enthusiasm for startup enterprise and micro business, although of course they have big plans to grow. The eight members currently involved in the venture believe there may be scope for expansion in a years time when a decision will be taken on opening the group to other members.
Big vs Small
Micro businesses are often ignored and neglected by Government schemes that focus on the 5% of business with over 15 employees or those that are interested in fast growth and profits rather than steady growth and quality service. Small companies all understand the difficulties of competing against the larger corporations with who have scale and shareholder capital on their side. KanduGroup hopes to work together to obtain bulk discounts, improve order processing, purchasing and negotiations, which is why clubbing together should lead to better deals for both the companies involved and their customers.
Trabasack and Kandu Group
Trabasack will be leading the social media side of the group communications. Trabasack entrepreneur Duncan Edwards has a key role in the group’s growth and the wider world’s awareness of their work. With strong links across the sector already, Duncan is in the perfect position to ensure the group reaches a diverse group of people. Alan Thomas, chairman of Ataxia South Wales said:
“I trust Duncan from Trabasack as he has an excellent product and gives top notch customer service. A recommendation from him is good enough for me to have a lot of faith in another company. I think the KanduGroup is a brilliant idea; I have already been very impressed by the guys from Mountain Trike. Duncan introduced them to me at Naidex and they have another very impressive product that helps a disabled person lead a fuller life. I think small companies, charities and services need to work together. Finding out about this group, where they all have strong reputations for good service, can only help disabled people get the things they need more easily. Businesses working together to help more people is a brilliant and logical idea.”
You can find out more about the group via their website: http://www.kandugroup.com/ or through chatting to Duncan via their Twitter http://www.twitter. com/kandugroup and Facebook www.facebook. com/kandugroup pages
The Organisations behind the Group
Kandu group comprises of the following companies:
Spokz People: http://www.spokzpeople.org.uk/
Mountain Trike: http://www.mountaintrike.co.uk/
Active Hands: http://www.activehands.co.uk/
Standing Start: http://www.standingstart.org/
Wheelchair Skiing Video
“How do you get a man who can’t walk down a mountain?”
Peter Carr is the entrepreneur behind the Standing Start exercise programme for people with a spinal injury. He is also one of the founders of KanduGroup, the ethical business network for disabled entrepreneurs that trabasack is proud to be part of.
When we saw his new video featuring his wheelchair skiing adventures, we had to share it!
I hope to get an update from Peter and share some more of his experiences here.
Josh Dueck, World Champion Skier
This is also a chance to look at the at the career and experiences of World Champion Ski Racer Josh Dueck.
Josh Dueck aspired to be an award-winning free-skier and was already a coach to many world renowned stars and athletes. Unfortunately, in March 2004 Josh seriously misjudged his speed whilst out skiing and this resulted in serious injury. Josh dislocated his back, severed his spinal cord and was permanently paralysed from the waist down.
In his own words, he was told by the doctor in the hospital that he’d soon “kick ass in a wheelchair” and his attitude remained powerfully upbeat telling his former colleagues and friends to “celebrate skiing for me, love it the way I loved it, there’s nothing to mourn here.” John knew he’d be back in a sit-ski as soon as possible and people wouldn’t even notice he’d been gone!
His career sky rocketed at this point. He spent 2005 learning to ride his sit-ski and was introduced to ski racing in 2006. Despite believed ski racing wasn’t for him; he threw himself into it and won the Canadian Ski Racing Championships in 2007. By 2008 he found himself travelling the world on the World Circuit and by 2009 was the World Champion. This winning form just continued and by 2010 he walked away with the Winter Paralympic Games Silver Medal for Canada, in front of a home crowd in Whistler, BC. He has gone onto win the Monoskier X at the Winter X Games this year.
Despite all his triumphs, Josh sees himself as a free skier and feels he owes it to himself to throw himself back into free skiing with his friends and colleagues of old. He explains that although it’s hard to erase memories of the accident, ‘nothing beats the feeling of flying free’ and you can see some of his live action in the below video:
Free cinema entry for carers: the CEA card
We have had a CEA cinema card for at least 6 years. My wife gets high rate DLA and it gives me free entry as an accompanying carer at the cinema. We have a son who has severe epilepsy and dravet syndrome so I decided to get a card for him so that his carers can take him too.
When I visited the CEA Card site, I found that the scheme had changed since I last applied. In the past you needed three year renewal but this has now changed to every year.
This trebles the cost for anyone with a long term illness, and there is the extra hassle of reapplying. Also if you are anything like us, the chances are you’ll end up turning up at the cinema with an expired card and having to pay extra. All very annoying.
The scheme is passported by receiving DLA. My son has a ten year award and my wife has an ‘indefinite’ award, so I emailed the CEA Card Company to ask if I could get a card for a longer period.
I received this prompt reply:
“The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) is the trade body for UK cinemas and launched this non-mandatory scheme as one way in which a cinema can meet its obligations under the 2010 Equality Act. It recognises that some people because of their disability may need someone to help them access a cinema and provides that person with a free ticket to accompany them….. Initially the scheme provided a card with a validity period of 3 years from the date of issue. This meant that a person claiming Disability Living Allowance for a matter of weeks could still benefit from the card for the entire three year period. Reducing the lifetime of the card to 1 year from the date of issue addresses this problem…. Unfortunately we cannot provide ten year cards, all CEA Cards are valid for one year from date of issue.
Carrie Walters CEA Card Co-ordinator”
“awarded DLA for a matter of weeks”
I was surprised to find that they changed the rules in March 2009 citing unfairness of someone getting hold of a 3 year card if they had only been awarded DLA for ‘a matter of weeks’. I find this scenario incredibly unlikely. DLA has a long qualifying period and usually takes months to get. The only occasions I can think of where you might get it quickly and only have it for a few months is under the ‘special rules’. Under those circumstances it is fast tracked, the ‘special rules’ are for where you have a terminal illness and you are not expected to live more than six months.
I decided to try and get hold of the some stats about DLA claim length. So far I have only found them for Incapacity Benefit. IB_SDA_ESA_medical_duration_feb_2011_tables
These tables show that for Incapacity Benefit, less than 10 % of people are claiming it for under 3yrs. Obviously I need to find the figures for DLA. If they are similar it shows that the new scheme is unfair as 90% of people are now paying three times the price they were.
CEA Card changes
I emailed the CEA Association itself via their website and had another very quick response from their CEO:
Phil Clapp wrote:
The change, which was introduced in March 2009, recognised the fact that there is now an increasingly high ‘turnover’ of people on Disability Living Allowance such that a significant number are now in receipt of DLA for a good deal less than a year. …. The CEA did consider a number of other approaches, and consulted a range of representative groups before making this decision. … we have received a small number of complaints from people who are themselves in receipt of long-term or indefinite DLA….. the truth is that were we to move away from the current standard annual approach to all applicants, then the costs around administering a more complicated scheme would inevitably rise and this would need to be passed on to those using the Card.
Phil Clapp | Chief Executive Cinema Exhibitors’ Association
I was very surprised to see that there is “increasingly high ‘turnover’ of people on Disability Living Allowance such that a significant number are now in receipt of DLA for a good deal less than a year” so if anyone knows where I can verify this information please let me know. I am also interested in the range of represented groups that they consulted with, and why more of an objection wasn’t made at the time.
I replied sending Phil the stats I had found about Incapacity Benefit claim length and asking for if there are any plans to review the scheme. I think that even if they charged people twice as much to get a lifetime or three year award it would still be cheaper and fairer for everyone. They could reserve the one year cards for people with one year of DLA.
I am worried that the changes in the scheme are more down to the “Disabled people are scroungers/fraudsters” mindset. They have made the scheme harder to qualify for on the presumption that if they didn’t, people would abuse the system. I wondered if there was any evidence of this. We know the fraud rates for DLA are actually very low. The DWP Information Directorate report on ‘Fraud and error in the benefits system’ for 2008-2009 estimated the level of fraud in relation to DLA at just 0.6%.
Was the change is in response to the perception of disabled people by the cinema owners? I contacted Phil Clapp again with my concerns.
CEA Card – Do you even need one?
Phil Clapp responded very quickly saying that
“the basic point at the time was that many of the cinemas companies would only support the CEA Card going forward if we made this change.”
and providing the most revealingly the statement that:
“perhaps most important being that we have always made it clear that while the Card is intended to make it easier for disabled people to avail themselves of a free ticket for someone to accompany them it is not a requirement that a person has a Card before a cinema will make such provision, or any other similar adjustment. The Card scheme was just introduced to make the process more straightforward.”
So actually we shouldn’t need a card at all but that is not our experience. We have been refused a free entry before when the card had expired. Our son’s carers have never been offered free entry even though he is in a buggy at 7 and does not communicate. I understand that people with a hidden disability might prefer a having a card than explaining to a kiosk attendent.
I shall be contacting our local cinema to find out if they will allow us entry without a card. I would be interested in anyone else’s experiences and comments.
I would also urge you to email the CEA directly using the contact form here http://www.cinemauk.org.uk/contact/ with your experiences or you are unhappy about the switch to annual renewal for the CEA card.
This post appeared as a guest post on The Broken Of Britain disability campaign site. CEA card for Carers