Coventry pushes Inclusivity with City-wide pilot of assist-Mi

We are very proud to announce we have launched a citywide pilot in Coventry in partnership with Coventry County Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau to revolutionise access and inclusivity across the city.

It’s extremely exciting for us to work in an area where we can have a direct impact on the lives of residents of Coventry, helping them in their day-to-day activities as they visit all manner of venues,

The pilot is at an evergrowing number of service providers, viewable here, and will run until January 2016.

Elizabeth Flowers, Chair of the Disabled Employees Network, and lead on the app project, said “We are formally launching the app and would love colleagues to drop in and see the app working and tell us what they think. We are inviting organisations as well as individual users of the app to the launch so feel free to spread the word!”

“It helps us all understand more about the importance of accessible venues.”

We ran a short pre-pilot of the app, one user said it was, “easy to download”. They also added: “It gave me the choice of planning my journey to make my trip into the city smoother and easier and of course it is great that it is free for individuals.”

Councillor Faye Abbott, Cabinet Member for community development, co-operative and social enterprise said: “I’m delighted the Council is working in partnership with local organisations to deliver this App. The council is committed to enabling visitors to the city have a positive experience and this app is one of the practical ways we can put that commitment into action.”

assist-Mi talks Access and Inclusivity at Apple

On Saturday 14th November, assist-Mi were invited to the Apple Store in Glasgow to talk all things disability and accessibility.

The assist-Mi team gave an overview of the app and its origins, a demonstration of how it worked, and answered questions from the floor on it’s use and functionality.

One of the things that was highlighted was how integral to the design of assist-Mi is it’s accessibility and inclusivity. It was designed so that anyone can use it, and in turn, benefit from it.

 

It was great to meet people at the event who all had varying requirements from the assist-Mi app, but all could use the amazing features of assist-Mi. Whether you are visually impaired, hard of hearing? or mobility impaired or a wheelchair user – we have worked tirelessly to ensure that assist-Mi is usable to everyone, and more importantly useful to everyone!

We strive to use Technology as an enabler, a ‘barrier-breaker’ and simplifier, and after years of development we know that we have a solution to help lead the #AccessRevolution! As with all things in the world of technology, we are constantly evolving the app, making it as powerful yet as simple as possible.

The team at Apple were extremely receptive and supportive in helping to create a more inclusive and accessible world, and were thrilled to see the assist-Mi app really using the full capabilities of the phone’s assistive technology in action.

We can’t wait to build a whole host of providers in and around Glasgow area, and with the help and encouragement of the likes of Apple, we know we can get there in the near future.

App partnership puts disabled on the road

Dom Hyams

Wearside app developer assist-Mi has joined force with black cab app Gett to offer a new level of accessibility to disabled people.

Users will have access to priority booking and waiting times of less than five minutes and instant email receipts, offering disabled passengers a fully inclusive and accessible service, which will soon be rolled out across the UK.

Read more: http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/community/app-partnership-puts-disabled-on-the-road-1-7573510#ixzz3rfsU7K25

Taxi app Gett makes travel easier for disabled Londoners

The company is promising fixed fares saving up to 30% too

Gett

Ride-hailing app Gett has announced a new partnership with Assist-MI, an app that helps disabled users interact with services and communicate their access needs.

Using the app, disabled customers will now be able to hail one of 8000 black cabs in the capital (or 2000 more elsewhere in Britain) with priority booking and up to 30% off fares.

It will work by going into your Assist-MI app and logging in with your Gett details

Read more at http://www.techradar.com/news/car-tech/taxi-app-gett-makes-travel-easier-for-disabled-londoners-1308817 

Promoting accessibility at Apple!

We are very excited to announce we will be hosting an event with Apple, at the Glasgow Apple store, Buchanan Street on Saturday 14th December – “Discover Accessibility with assist-Mi”.

assist-Mi Apple Store Event InviteOn the day, we are going to be demonstrating our app and showing how it has the ability, with fully inclusive and accessible design, to be the access solution of the future!

It’s going to be a great opportunity to demonstrate more about what the app can do and how you could start using it.

We anticipate the event to be very popular and therefore Apple ask if visitors can book themselves in for the event below to avoid disappointment.

Discover Accessibility with assist-Mi – Apple (GB)

We look forward to seeing you there!

Petrol Station Survey Fuels the Debate on Accessibility

A snapshot survey commissioned by assist-Mi has shown that disabled people are still struggling to put fuel in their cars.

The survey, which was carried out by the RICA (Research Institute for Consumer Affairs), involved 6 disabled drivers visiting 20 garages over a one month period in October 2014, recording their experiences as they went. Garages included BP, Esso, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Shell and Tesco.

Although it was noted that there were often helpful staff and customers willing to help with filling the cars up with fuel, the difficulties obtaining assistance in the first instance were substantial, with 20% of the garages unable to provide the disabled driver with fuel at all.

Chris Lofthouse, Outreach Manager at RICA says “Our research, commissioned by assist-Mi, has provided independent validation of an important access issue that affects disabled drivers everyday”

Click here for the DMUK Press Release or here for the full RICA Report. For further information on assist-Mi, please email hello@assist-mi.com

Helping disabled travellers reach for the skies

In celebration of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Wednesday, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced a raft of new rules, which aim to strengthen the rights of disabled travellers who want to use UK airports.

Designed to make it easier for disabled people to request assistance, the new rules will make it mandatory for all UK airport and airline websites to have easy to access information for disabled passengers, information that’s just one click away from their homepage. Helpline numbers are also to be made more readily available, and any businesses that fail to comply with these rules will be leaving themselves open to prosecution.

The freedom to travel independently is something that most people take for granted, yet many disabled people feel they are unable to access airports with the freedom that they desire. With many instances of disabled people’s wheelchairs being damaged in transit, or airlines refusing to take disabled passengers, many airlines have a long way to go before they can achieve true equality for disabled travellers.

Which is why Assist-Mi intends to work in partnership with UK airports to open up air travel to all disabled people. Using the Assist-Mi app on your smartphone, you’ll be able to inform affiliated UK airports when you are intending to travel, and give staff prior warning of any assistance you may need. This means that airport staff can then be ready and on hand to help you with directions to accessible parking spaces – whether for short or long stay – and assist you with your luggage, while helping you to travel through the airport and onto your flight.

This process can then be repeated when you return from your trip, making your journey smooth and stress free. Assist-Mi are therefore keen to team up with as many UK airports as possible, in order to help them meet the requirements laid out by the CAA.

If you’d like to help us encourage UK airports and airlines to sign up to the Assist-Mi app, why not get engaged in the conversation on Twitter and Facebook? By joining the conversation you can help us to ensure the aviation industry faces up to its responsibilities to disabled people, so that airports can become truly accessible for all.

Driving Change on the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities

On the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we thought we’d take a moment to explore what can be done to make life for disabled people easier. While access to appropriate health care and support throughout life are the cornerstones of independent living, it is also vital that all disabled people are able to access the everyday services that most people take for granted. Without access to these services, true equality can never be achieved and many disabled people will not be able to live the sort of life, or have the sort of independence that they want and deserve in 21st century Britain.

IDPwDThe fact that most people take getting into their car, filling up their tank and heading out to the local shops for granted, shows how ridiculous it is that many disabled people are still unable to access these simple services. At Assist-Mi we think this simply isn’t good enough, and we are determined to change things so that disabled people will soon be able to take these things for granted, just like everyone else.

The Assist-Mi app is designed to help make these simple, everyday acts, such as filling up your car at the petrol station, much more accessible. By simply opening the app on your smart phone, entering your car registration and blue badge information, and searching for petrol stations in your area that have signed up to our scheme, you’ll be able to inform the petrol station of your imminent arrival and get help at the pump, without having to go and seek it out. With some petrol station shops also inaccessible, this will make filling up your car a much smoother process, and means that you may be able to travel alone, without the help of a personal assistant. You’ll also be able to pay the petrol station attendant directly for your purchases, so you won’t even have to get out of the car. It is these sort of simple, everyday changes that can make a real difference and help to break down some of the barriers that disabled people face on a day-to-day basis.

So why not get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook today and let us know what commercial services you’d like to see change on the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities?

Georgia demands better parking for disabled people, one wheelchair at a time

Ever wanted to park your car, only to find that someone without a blue badge got there before you? Not only is this bad manners, it’s also illegal and sadly a regular problem for many disabled motorists.

In Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi, the non-profit organisation Tree of Life, took to the streets this week to protest against this practice. Using a large number of wheelchairs, protestors blocked all the parking spaces around the city’s main Metro station, leaving only the disabled bays free. Photos of the protest then went viral on social media, helping locals to shed light on what is a massive problem in Georgia, with people regularly ignoring the signs and parking in disabled spaces.

With the United Nations Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December, now is a great time to tell you how we plan to help disabled motorists, especially when it comes to parking.

IDPwD

Once you’ve downloaded the Assist-Mi app, you’ll be able to input your blue badge data and car registration and then search for disabled parking spaces and car parks in your area. All the car parks that have signed up to our service will then be displayed, and disabled motorists that require assistance with gaining access to a car park, perhaps because there is a button to press or a payment to be made, will be able to request assistance ahead of time. Then, once you’ve arrived at the car park, someone will either come and meet you, or buzz you through automatically after reading your number plate on the computer system.

In order for this to work as smoothly as possible though, the more people, businesses, councils and organisations that sign up to our app, the better. Independence through choice is at the heart of our philosophy at Assist-Mi. In today’s modern, technology driven world, people shouldn’t need to take to the streets in order to fight for the services that should already be theirs, which is why we are encouraging you all to subscribe to our mailing list, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and help us to bring about the change that we all deserve. Whatever your disability, Assist-Mi is here to make sure you can live as independently as you want, with all the assistance that you need.

Join the conversation by following Assist-Mi on Twitter and Facebook.

Empowering equality for disabled people

In anticipation of the launch of the groundbreaking app, Assist-Mi are teaming up with the online community Disability Horizons to help spread the word to disabled people, UK businesses and other potential collaborators. We need you to join the conversation!

Assist-Mi aims to make it easier for disabled people to request assistance from a service provider via their smartphones. Assist-Mi want service providers ranging from transport operators to owners of everyday local amenities to join the platform; and empower their disabled customers to receive assistance.

Proudly sharing the same vision, Assist-Mi and the Disability Horizons community want to empower disabled people and encourage everyone to live their lives as independently as possible, which is why we are working together to motivate new businesses to sign up and share our vision.

Assist-Mi and Disability Horizons also want to encourage UK businesses to embrace the Assist-Mi app so that they can comply with and expand upon the Equality Act 2010 and really help to improve people’s day-to-day lives.

While being able to get on a train, go to a meeting, or pick up your weekly shop may seem like simple acts, to many disabled people there are still huge barriers in place which prevent them from engaging with the services that so many take for granted. These issues are not new either, in fact disabled people in the Disability Horizons community have been writing articles about these issues for years now. By collaborating we hope to offer disabled people and businesses real, tangible ways of breaking down these barriers and helping to improve services throughout the UK.

We therefore encourage you all to engage with us on Twitter and Facebook, give us feedback on the app once it has launched, and share our posts with your network. This way we can get as many people involved in this game-changing project as possible, and make sure equality is truly at the heart of British business. So whether you want to use the app yourself, or get in touch with us about adding your business to our database, Assist-Mi and the Disability Horizons community are here to help.