The founders of a scheme to support D/deaf and disabled theatregoers have removed the cost of its technology to venues, in a bid to open up access.
Nimbus Disability, a social enterprise that advises organisations on how to meet the needs of disabled people, launched the card scheme in 2014 to enable D/deaf and disabled customers to communicate their needs privately to theatres.
Access requirements are verified and categorised using symbols, which are printed onto an individual photo ID card to be used when booking tickets.
The online validation system, which was previously chargeable, allows venues and box offices to see a digital version of a customer’s access card. This will now be free to theatres.
Nimbus managing director Martin Austin said: “I feel that this software now needs to be almost open-source – removing the financial barrier for organisations means that there’s no legitimate reason not to get involved and we will be doing our part by expanding the reach of the scheme for our members.
“By getting involved a venue or event will find their admin costs reduced, but will also need to take pause and spend five minutes thinking about how they will meet disabled customers’ needs in relation to the symbols on the card. All in all, services improve for disabled customers, which is what we all want in the long run.”
The system is already used by the ticket selling company Ticketmaster and Glastonbury Festival.
It is estimated there are around 25,000 active cardholders in the UK.
Suzanne Bull, chief executive of Attitude is Everything, a charity that works to improve D/deaf and disabled people’s access to live entertainment, said: “It’s fantastic that the card validation system for venues is now free of charge.
“I’m hoping this will encourage many more venues to get involved, enabling more people with access needs to enjoy their leisure time and socialise with friends and family.”