4759245_300x300Campaign to Put Hotels, Bars & Restaurants at Forefront of Accessibility Wins Blue Badge Style Prestigious European Award

UK Start-Up wins the European Investment Bank Institute’s Social Innovation Tournament

London, 4 November 2014, Blue Badge Style’s innovative Pictorial Access Descriptions (PADs) have won the coveted European Investment Bank Institute’s Social Innovation Tournament. In pictures on a venue’s website, a PAD shows the access and facilities for less-physically-able people in UK hotels, restaurants and bars.

The UK’s first and only app and website guide to help the less-physically-able lead an exciting social life has picked up the Special Category Prize: Urban Environment. The award, and 25,000 euros prize money, comes just as Blue Badge Style has completed its PAD for new City of London luxury hotel South Place Hotel and its Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Angler. The chic, boutique hotel is a first from restaurateurs D&D London, with Conran-designed interiors.

Founder of Blue Badge Style, Fiona Jarvis, herself in a wheelchair says, “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. It underscores our thinking that hotels, bars and restaurants are at the forefront of changing attitudes to disability by making it easier for people to enjoy a stylish social life. Our aim is to create a world in which style and disability are not mutually exclusive and the hospitality sector is vital to this”.

Jessica Rodrigues, PR & Communications Manager at South Place Hotel said “We are committed to providing a high-quality service to all our guests. Blue Badge Style’s pictorial access description means our less-physically-able clients can see from our website exactly what we have to offer before they arrive”. Blue Badge Style’s PADs reveal South Place Hotel’s disability accessibility with a high-quality, pictorial journey through the venue, highlighting the facilities in the public areas and rooms for the physically less-abled.

Fiona continues, “Many often forget that people with mobility issues need to check out a hotel, restaurant or bar online before they go, but it’s often very difficult to work out what the obstacles will be for a particular disability. For example a walking stick user will want to know if there’s a handrail on the stairs, whilst a wheelchair user needs to know whether there is a ramp. It’s all about knowing what to expect in advance. Blue Badge Style’s PADs enable potential customers to make an informed choice and ensure they have a good time”.

Blue Badge Style is the UK’s only company that looks at disability from a style & design perspective, taking a stylish, pragmatic and cost-efficient approach to inclusive access, working with venue management teams, designers and architects to improve the awareness of disabled facilities. “Style is the overriding premise of Blue Badge Style, along with a positive outlook” says Fiona Jarvis, “disability should not stop you from enjoying life. It’s freedom shared!”.

Notes to Editors 

About Blue Badge Style & Pictorial Access Description

www.bluebadgestyle.com @bluebadgestyle

Blue Badge Style is a website and app aimed at the physically-less-able. Established by Fiona Jarvis in 2007, it aims to give its community a positive, cool, fashionable and elegant experience, wherever they go or whatever they do. Style and disability, Fiona believes, are not mutually exclusive. Fiona Jarvis first realised she might have MS when she kept falling off her high-heels! That was over 20 years ago and today she uses a wheel chair to glide through life.

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. Fiona intends to make Blue Badge Style a ‘Vogue/Michelin-like’ guide for less able people, their friends and their families.

The Blue Badge Style Pictorial Access Description arrives as a social media-ready tool, matching the style of the venue and can be posted to a website, Facebook or Pinterest and appear as a button alongside other social media icons. Once clicked, the PAD takes the customer visually through the access points before their visit. It includes overlay photos and narrative of facilities and is placed on an easy to find area of a website.

To view South Place Hotel PAD – http://pad.bluebadgestyle.com/south-place-hotel/

To view The Angler PAD – http://pad.bluebadgestyle.com/angler-restaurant/

Photography available on request 

About South Place Hotel

South Place Hotel in the City of London can claim a number of firsts: it is the first, purpose-built hotel to open in the Square Mile in 100 years; it is the only independent, luxury hotel in the City; and it is the first hotel from restaurateurs D&D London, owners of some of the best restaurants in London, including Skylon in the Southbank Centre, Le Pont de la Tour at Tower Bridge, Bluebird Cafe on the King’s Road. Within the hotel you’ll find Angler, our Michelin-starred seafood restaurant with roof terrace, and 3 South Place Bar & Grill. South Place Hotel has been awarded 3/3 BBS ticks for disabled access. http://www.southplacehotel.com/about-us/

South Place Hotel PAD http://pad.bluebadgestyle.com/south-place-hotel/

 About the Stylish Less-Physically-Able Market

The Family Resources Survey (FRS) 2010/11 states that 19% of the UK population suffer from some form of long-term disability (12m). There are also an estimated 6 million carers. This does not include temporarily disabled people, their families, friends or unregistered carers. The Blue Badge Style PADs are intended to give venues a competitive edge in the growing hospitality market of affluent, less-able individuals, estimated at £2bn a year in the UK.

According to EU-commissioned University of Surrey research, the European tourism sector is missing out on up to 142 billion Euros every year due to poor infrastructure, services and attitudes towards travellers with special access needs. http://www.surrey.ac.uk/mediacentre/press/2014/127843_lack_of_accessible_tourism_costing_economy_billions_new_research_finds.htm

The size of this market is derived from 80m disabled people spending €1000 pa o.e. €80bn (OSSATE Accessibility Market and Stakeholder Analysis, 2005). Deloitte Touche estimate the EU market for assistive devices to be €30bn (Access to Assistive Technology in the EU, 2003).

In the UK, spend by disabled is now £212bn pa according to the government’s Department of Work & Pensions.  http://www.govopps.co.uk/212bn-potential-business-in-purple-pound/

About The Social Innovation Tournament and the EIB Institute

The Social Innovation Tournament was established in 2012 by the EIB Institute. It sponsors entrepreneurs whose primary purpose is to generate a social, ethical or environmental impact. Projects are typically related to combating unemployment and the marginalisation of disadvantaged communities and promoting access to education.

Fifteen finalists from nine countries had initially been selected for the Tournament from 171 proposals submitted by applicants from 26 countries.

During the Tournament, the finalists had to present and defend their project before a Jury composed of seven social innovation specialists chaired by Sophie Robin (Stonesoup Consulting) and also including Paula Almansa (Impact HUB), Olivier de Guerre (PhiTrust), José Tomás Frade (Former EIB staff member), Rémy Jacob (First Dean of the EIB Institute), Meredith Niles (Impetus Trust) and Johannes Weber (Social Venture Fund).

The EIB Institute is part of the European Investment Bank Group and promotes European initiatives for the common good. Since 2012, it has acted as a catalyst for social, cultural, educational and research activities directed towards economic and social development in the EU Member States, EU Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries, and European Economic Area Countries.

http://institute.eib.org/2014/07/fifteen-projects-selected-to-compete-for-the-eibis-2014-sit/

 

For more information about Blue Badge Style, please contact PR Savvy:

Jan Howells / jan.howells@prsavvy.co.uk / 0771 388 3773

Kate Warwick / kate.warwick@prsavvy.co.uk / 078 1069 7282

 

For more information about South Place Hotel, please contact:

Jessica Rodrigues / JessicaR@southplacehotel.com / 020 3215 1207

 

For more information about the EIB Institute, please contact:

Richard Willis, Press Officer / r.willis@eib.org / +352 437982155

 

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