Vinnies NSW is excited to announce the relaunch of the Better Access Map (BAM), an application designed to “take the guesswork out of going out”. The BAM provides people with disability, as well as their friends and family, with reliable information about the accessibility of businesses and services.
When the concept of BAM was first conceived, it was estimated one in five people in Australia had a disability, with approximately one quarter of these people having a disposable income of $900 per fortnight. Although these statistics demonstrated the prevalence of disability amongst the Australian community, it was common place for people with disability to be unable to access businesses and services due a lack of publicly available information regarding business or service accessibility. People with disability not being able to access businesses and services impacts their ability to fully engage in community life and robs the community of the diversity that comes from people with disability engaging in all aspects of civic life.
In the lead up to the BAM re-launch, Vinnies NSW ran a series of person-centred focus groups that comprised of people with disability. Many of the participants in these focus groups expressed that they did not often go to new businesses and services due to a lack of publicly available information regarding the accessibility of businesses and services.
It was this lack of information regarding the accessibility of businesses and services that the development of BAM sought to address. Specifically, BAM provides a platform for people with disability to access information regarding businesses and services, enabling them to go out independently and with confidence. BAM details the accessibility features of businesses and organisations, also covering a broad spectrum of physical, hearing, visual and sensory needs. The BAM app was developed in line with the Vinnies NSW person-centered and best-practice approach to disability inclusion.
Since its first launch in 2019, thousands of businesses and organisations have been profiled across the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney region, with accessibility information regarding these businesses and services available on BAM. Former Paralympic athlete and Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, has described BAM as a fantastic resource for the Gosford region. “I am thrilled that we now have the fabulous Better Access Map. As a wheelchair user, knowing that I can easily plan, using an app to find out about access and getting around the community and also find out which businesses will welcome me is just magic!”
The feedback from app users and businesses has been overwhelmingly positive. Importantly, the initiative has greatly contributed to a growing awareness of accessibility needs in the business community.
You can download the Better Access Map app now from the Apple Store, or Google Play Store.
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