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 wheel chair 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.
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. We intend to make Blue Badge Style a ‘Vogue/Michelin-like’ guide for less able people, their friends and their families. We aim to make recommendations on style, accessibility and disabled facilities so that ‘As Recommended By Blue Badge Style’ becomes an aspirational goal for any item, organisation or establishment. Starting in Europe but we want to go global – so keep sending your recommendations!!
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 using our proprietary guidelines, audits and questionnaire. The scores are then aggregated into a final number of points and equated to BBS Ticks the maximum being three, just like a Michelin Star.
As a consequence of the research we’ve undertaken into the ‘accessibility’ of venues, we now have a number of Campaigns ………
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 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. we are also in the process of producing some BBS Style Accessories…..More info soon!
Blue Badge Style Rating System & Mobile App
As recommended by the Guardian and FT, our 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. In this way we hope that venues will aspire to achieve the maximum accreditation (and improve their accessibility). Following our win at the EIB Institute Social Innovation Tournament we updated our App. It is now more interactive – it allows users to drop a pin and send their own reviews, it shows if a PAD (Now known as a Blue Badge Style Gallery) exists and it gives a view of the surrounding streets at a venue. All you need to know, in one place, for an enjoyable night out!
Along with reviews we will also provide a Concierge Service. Whatever you wish to do, be it go to Paris, visit the Tate, stay at a boutique hotel, or check out the latest nightclub, BBS will arrange and advise on the best way to do this.
This video also shows you some of our team members……..and explains what we’re trying to achieve……..
To make things easier for disabled people we created a product that tells you what to expect from a venue, whatever the disability – the BBS Gallery. A Gallery describes visually the journey through a building for all disabilities. We are very proud to say that this won the EIB Institute Social Innovation Prize for the Urban Environment. See the winning pitch…..(when we mention PADs we mean a 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.