Welcome to Blue Badge Style we want to ensure that ‘wherever you go or whatever you do it is a positive, cool, fashionable and elegant experience, whatever your style, whatever your disability’. We’re re-defining disability with style – something that should be a freedom shared.
Fiona Jarvis first realised she might have MS when she kept falling off her high-heels! ‘People thought I was drunk – and that was the confusing thing, as I could well have been.’ That was over 20 years ago and today she uses a wheelchair to glide through life.
I have always refused to give up being stylish, whether that’s eating in smart restaurants, wearing elegant clothes or going on glamorous holidays. Mobility, or the lack of it, doesn’t and shouldn’t mean you can’t have style! Blue Badge Style can help you to have a positive, cool, elegant experience. As Coco Chanel said, “fashion fades, only style remains the same”.
Becoming progressively disabled, but determined to maintain her social life, has alerted Fiona to the lack of information for stylish, discerning people with mobility issues; a shop or restaurant may have a ramp, but how far away are the Ladies and down how many flights of steps? NHS crutches may work, but where do you find a walking stick to accessorise a glamorous outfit? The Blue Badge Style site has this information and has already established a small community; like a 17th century Salon, it is an assembly of guests consisting of, if not leaders, then a stylish and informed group.
This video also shows you some of our team members……..and explains what we’re trying to achieve……..
As the UK population ages, those with temporary or permanent mobility issues are on the increase, but a lack of mobility doesn’t mean they are also no longer stylish. Blue Badge Style is the ‘Vogue/Michelin-like’ guide for less able people, their friends and their families. We and more importantly our readers, make recommendations on style, accessibility and disabled facilities and ‘As Recommended By Blue Badge Style’ is an aspirational goal for any item, organisation or establishment. So keep sending your reviews.
We try to highlight – in a positive way – where the ‘equal provisions of goods and services are unreasonably deficient’. The intention is to act as an agent for change, altering mind-sets toward accessibility. Recent figures on Accessible Tourism/Hospitality put the value of the european market at €142Bn, making accessibility an economic if not social imperative, rather than a legislative necessity – we’re ‘customers not compliance issues’. In particular due to the lack of disabled facilities in restaurants (especially Michelin Starred ones) – we’ve become known as the “Toilet Police”. Not something we ever wanted but we’re prepared to take the baton.!!???
We have also partnered with Bespoke Access and Leonard Cheshire to make our previous BBS Awards bigger and better. Together we’ve created the Blue Badge Access Awards (BBAAs),
“Inspiring better design, Celebrating exceptional venues, Improving accessibility for all.”
Nominations are open for 2020 and the first awards ceremony took place on 2 Oct 2019. See the winners here.
We also want to improve the lack of style & fashionable design in the production of disability equipment. A market worth €30Bn according to EU statistics. We’re happy to say that Conran & Partners and Brunel University support us in our endeavours. In 2017 we won funding from The Design Council, SPARK innovation program and have produced the first of our inclusive accessories for ‘people who have their hands full’.
DRINK is the first product and is available to buy from our online store – ADDITION Collection ‘that showcases inclusive design’. It’s a universal glass holder that attaches to almost anything, with our Smart Fixing, – wheelchair , buggy, deck chair – and carries most size of glass plus coffee cartons, bottles, cans etc.
Blue Badge Style Rating System & Mobile App
As recommended by the Guardian and FT, Blue Badge Style App finds cool places to visit near your location. We’ve reviewed hundreds of places and awarded them BBS Ticks. Have a look at this short film explaining how it works. We rate first on style then accessibility and facilities, up to a maximum of 3 BBS Ticks. We let you know if a place is worth visiting and then we tell you what to expect by the number of ticks & associated reviews. We want all venues to aspire to achieve the maximum accreditation (and improve their accessibility). The App is interactive and allows users to drop a pin and send their own reviews. All you need to know, in one place, for an enjoyable night out!
BBS Rating System
Our system is based on 3 categories
- Ambience/Style – Friendliness, is it buzzy, stylish, good food/drinks, are the staff helpful, intrusive/ over fussy. Is it somewhere you would visit again? Is it cool, trendy, fashionable or smart?
- Accessibility – can you get into the venue easily, is there a ramp, lift etc. Is the ramp too steep to walk/wheel unaided. Can you get around easily within the venue, are there obstacles e.g. enough room between tables, and are those obstacles easy to overcome? Do the staff help? How easy is it to hear? How easy is it to see signs? etc, etc.
- Facilities – is there a disabled toilet, is it clean, are there enough bars (perpendicular and horizontal), can a wheelchair get in easily, is it easy to find and discreet. Can you access without help.
Nowhere gets rated unless it’s stylish and that doesn’t mean expensive. The local bar down the road can have style!
The categories are each scored out of 5 points and then aggregated into a final number of BBS Ticks, the maximum being three, just like a Michelin Star.
Not only did we win the Design Council SPARK Innovation award in 2017 (see above) in 2014 we won the EIB Institute Social Innovation Prize for the Urban Environment. The award was for our product that tells you what to expect from a venue – the BBS Gallery. They describe visually the journey through a building for all disabilities. See the winning pitch…..(when we mention PADs we mean an access Gallery, we changed the name to something we hope everyone understands??)
Join the BBS Movement
Blue Badge Style warmly welcomes everyone who is interested and willing to contribute. We want to build our very own Salon or ‘social network’ (with the emphasis on social!!). Here are various ways you can join us. You can also submit reviews here or via the mobile app.
Follow Blue Badge style on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and get in touch.
Thanks a lot for the recommendation to go to Loungelover bar. Great place to go for both food and drinks. Was a good start to the night and will definitely be going back to enjoy the music and decor. Nathan
…’I think if you are in a wheel chair or with a baby in a chair too how the heck do you manage to get around especially in the theatres too as just saw the mouse trap and thought no way it is impossible!!
So your website is such a great guide to all the cool places to go that have thought this through so thank you for letting me know.’
From Rosemary Forsyth at The Forsyth Group
I am loving Blue Badge Style, what a cool site, platform and idea. Thank you!
I met Amanda today at Tate Modern whilst I was waiting to give my talk on Picasso’s Weeping Woman. I can walk but not very well and my balance is dreadful. I zip around in my electric chair going to the gym and various voluntary job.
Maybe you could help me get in touch with a young lady, Fabienne who has MS and lives in Geneva – I lost her email address. And where can I get stylish clothes for the less able?
Hi Thank you for contacting us. I’m afraid I can’t help you with contacting people but we do have a section on the website under the menus ‘looking good’ & ‘fashionably disabled’ at the top of the page and you can see we’ve written quite a lot on getting ‘stylish’ clothes. There are also 2 wheelchair specific designers listed under the ‘links’ section.
WOW! What a great website. I stumbled upon it while looking for comfy crutch tops and hand pads. NOW I’m thinking about getting a pair of Mobilegs since they’re in the US – would love to know if Ossenberg sells crutches in the US.
Kudos to you, Fiona, for your courage, humor and STYLE. I feel like I just met a kindred soul. I’ve been an amputee since 1979 and have been truly disgusted by the lack of style in mobile aids but was raised as a polite southern girl so had to keep my style snobbishness to myself (thank God for designer purses!).
Really looking forward to reading more of your sites posts.
Hi, I was wondering if you ever review products? We sell a range of toys and fun products for people with disabilities (have been since 1984) and have certainly noticed that style is increasingly important in design. I think our customers would value a BBS certificate and I’d be happy to risk sending you samples if there seemed like a chance of getting one.
Yes we do and we have some kids who could trial them. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
What an amazing website. Would you mind if I shared it with my Facebook followers and my newsletter readers?
I run a small company selling biodegradable body wipes (www.swetwipes.com) which are used quite extensively by disabled people to clean themselves when a shower or bath is difficult or impossible. I know that many of my readers would love this site and would find it very useful.
Hi Liz, that would be great and thanks for your support
Would like to know price, portability,delivery time, and any other features. I am 90 yrs old.
Please reply at your convenience.
17 Cuthbert Crescent
Hi Carl. We don’t supply this you need to contact the vendor direct. There is a link in the article