A nationwide combined discount and identity card for children with a disability has become free for the first time after a groundbreaking deal between a charity and Croydon Council.
Croydon children on the council’s register of under-18s with a severe or moderate disability can now get an Access Card for free, which usually costs £15 every three years for anyone else in the country. The card offers nationwide cut-price tickets to disabled children and concessions for their companions on entertainment ranging from West End theatres to sports matches and music festivals.
The new arrangement with charity Nimbus Disability means that young people get the Access Card’s membership and related benefits for free if they join the council’s disability register. Currently there are around 1,000 children on Croydon’s register, which helps the council to plan its services and keep residents informed about its work.
The Access Card is widely accepted as proof of a disabled person’s needs, and provides access to concessions such as free companion passes and tickets. The card has symbols which confirm a person’s needs to inform providers quickly and discreetly about the support that may be required.
To qualify for the free Access Card, a child or young person must be aged 18 or under, a borough resident and be diagnosed with a permanent and substantial disability.
“This card is very useful for children and young people with disabilities because it doubles as an identity card that helps people to understand their needs and also as a way of getting discounts across the country. I’m pleased we have entered the country’s first arrangement of this kind with Nimbus, and I hope it will encourage even more local people to join our register.”
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care
Martin Austin, managing director of Nimbus Disability, said:
“We have worked extensively with the ticketing industry to recognise the Access Card as a proof of access requirements and, for many people, this means access to free companion tickets to a range of live shows and visitor attractions from ZSL London Zoo to the 02 Arena. We are really pleased to see a local authority leading the way by working directly with people with disabilities to create and implement a scheme like this.”
Carys Coppen, Access Card holder, said:
“The Access Card has been very beneficial to me, as it has enabled me to go out and about to different venues, without the fear of not being able to see the show due to my height. I have used my card to book tickets for Michael McIntyre, Hugh Jackman and This Morning Live! “
For more information on the scheme, visit the council website.