If you wanted to find out how good that shop is down the road, there’s a bunch of apps and websites that could help you out. But what about if you have a disability and you need to find out if they have the right facilities to suits you best?
People with disabilities living in Victoria and New South Wales (Australia) can now do it, and all thanks to Clickability.
Clickability is a new website funded by two Australian women in Melbourne, with the intent of helping people with disabilities find the help they need. How does it work? Simple, it’s an online directory that allows local disability care and support options to be listed, rated and reviewed.
Jenna Moffat and Aviva Beecher Kelk both come from a background as social workers (picture: thecusp.com.au)
Dubbed by some a “TripAdvisor for disability support services,” the concept developed by Jenna Moffat and Aviva Beecher Kelk is impressive. Their intent is to target anyone affected by a disability and empower them with a unique chance to be able to pick and choose what service really suits them, rather than having to adapt to whatever is on offer.
The source of this idea comes from Beecher and Jenna’s background as social workers. They came up with the idea while after noticing that they kept having to reach out to their professional networks or use Google to find support networks for clients.
“We were gatekeeping so much information, I was literally calling people I did my Masters with to ask about homelessness services, for example, or domestic violence services,” and also “We just saw this huge gap there in terms of consumer rights … In this industry, that’s a gap in human rights as well,” said Aviva.
In few words, Clickability places information on disability services all in one place.
A key point about the startup is that its mission aligns with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), a significant social welfare project for people living with disabilities being rolled out by the Australian government.
Aviva added: ‘We just saw this huge gap there in terms of consumer rights … In this industry, that’s a gap in human rights as well.’
Under the NDIS, support services will have to see people with disabilities as customers, she explained.
As Aviva pointed out, people with disabilities on the NDIS are in many cases expected to make their own decisions about which support service to choose. “Government money used to go to service providers to distribute services, and it’s now going to individuals to purchase the services that suit themselves,” she explained.
“Likewise, consumers have to start thinking about themselves as customers. How do I assert my customer rights? How do I articulate what I need? How do I get what I need?”
Unfortunately, in her view, the information to back up that decision-making is just not there, and it’s certainly not the kind of relevant, reliable peer-generated information that exists in other industries. That’s where Clickability comes in.
To list and rate services is free on Clickability, but subscribers can reply to comments and personalise their page, among other features. The next step in Clickability’s development will be to make it easier to use for visually impaired and blind people.
“The big thing for us is how do we make this accessible for people with intellectual disabilities?” says Aviva. “We also collect [reviews] in-person sometimes at conferences and events from people with all sorts of different access needs. It’s really important to us to find a way that everyone can have a voice.”
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Accessible Holidays: On March 1st on the morning of the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting at Stoke Mandeville, 25 of Europe’s leading lights in the Accessible Tourism Field gathered for a workshop at the Oculus in Aylesbury to share best practice and to see how new standards relating to more inclusive visitor standards could be delivered as the norm rather than as glorious exceptions.
The workshop had been organised by the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board in partnership with the Buckinghamshire Disability Service who have stated their ambition that Buckinghamshire should reflect its position as the Birthplace of the Paralympic movement by also becoming the most accessible visitor destination in Britain. To do this they aim to encourage through a new Buckinghamshire wide Destination Management Organisation, attractions, accommodation providers, transport and hospitality providers to all aspire to the “Stoke Mandeville Standard” around accessible tourism visitor experience.
Ross Calladine, Accessible Tourism Manager for Visit England helped set the scene by outlining the national context where Visit England have secured regional growth funding to work alongside a number of destinations to develop new visitor guides and promotional material based on the visitor experience rather than any perceived barriers to services. This approach was supported by accessible tourism Brian Seaman who explained that the most important skill for a tourism business was to listed to its customers and to make sure it adapted its services to their needs, he said that the most important message he could provide to any tourism business looking to make its service more accessible was “customer service, is what the customer thinks it is.”
This ethos became a recurring theme of the workshop with many speakers saying how they had benefitted from taking personal care with all of their customers and how by doing the right thing they had also benefitted their overall profitability. Geraldine Lundy, Head of Accessibility from Virgin Atlantic explained their philosophy which was based on a total customer experience and highlighted how by employing people with different disabilities had given the company a competitive edge and better insight into all of its customers. This approach wasn’t just benefitting large organisations, but was even more effective for small and growing businesses Bob Griffin from Tomkat Trikes, an award winning engineering firm specialising in custom build bikes and trikes for disabled children, explained that his business follows a process of constantly learning, innovating and inventing to delivering individual solutions for its customers and delivering great rewards for all involved.
Quite appropriately on a day in which the flame for the Sochi Winter Games was lit, it was a visitor from Sweden, the country that hosted the first Paralympic Winter Games, had the clearest message for delegates. Magnus Berglund from Scandic Hotels, one of the fastest growing hotel chains in Europe, said simply that “I can get you more business” he explained that Scandic had adopted a simple 110 point standard many of which were mandatory for all of its hotels. Many of the standards such as providing a stick holder in all receptions were extremely cheap to implement but had proved instrumental in increasing the profitability for the hotel chain.
Double award winner tour operator Seable Holidays, shared his passion for making exciting accessible holidays, creating a fully accessible offer that includes sport activities, cultural excursions and gastronomic experiences. The model has worked so far and Damiano La Rocca, the director of the company, is looking to add a number of UK based destination holidays that will allow local and international tourists to explore the accessible offers available.
The delegates agreed that 10 themes had emerged from a fascinating workshop session
• Always listen to and ask your customers • Don’t be fearful • Very often accessibility costs very little • Where you can, keep it simple • Embrace innovation • Share knowledge & learning Involve all of your staff • Doing the right thing can also be financially rewarding • In the UK we do many aspects of visitor accessibility very well • We need to share and celebrate best practice more widely throughout the UK and internationally
At the end of the morning session, all of the delegates agreed that they had benefitted greatly from the workshop and agreed to work together to start planning for a much larger event linked to the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting for the 2016 Rio Summer Games. [Tweet “Accessible Holidays: @BucksLegacy Accessible Tourism Seminar #accessibleholidays”]
CREDIT: VANOC/COVAN During both the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays, the flame is passed from one torch bearer to the next. The Paralympic Games feature differently-abled athletes who compete in sport competitions.
Accessible Tourism, Saturday 1 March 2014 in preparation for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. As part of a programme of linked events highlighting the Paralympic Legacy in the UK, a Workshop on Accessible Tourism is to be held with the aim of showcasing good practice in accessible tourism in the UK and discussing how accessible tourism can be promoted and developed as part of the UK Paralympic. A number of key players in UK accessible tourism have been invited to the Workshop with the aim of bringing practitioners, policy-makers and accessible tourism specialists together for an informed and informal discussion.