If you or one of your loved ones are disabled, it can sometimes be difficult to know how and where you can get a little helping hand to make day-to-day life that bit easier.
That’s why Ballymena-based disability equipment specialists Moorings Mediquip have done their research and drawn together this shortlist of services and discounts which are available to disabled people in Northern Ireland.
1. Mobility Scooters
If you need to visit Belfast city centre but find getting around a little tricky, Shopmobility Belfast can provide a free mobility scooter, or wheelchair between 10am and 4pm. The charity makes their service available to everyone, and you can benefit even if you are not registered disabled. In fact, the mobility scooters and wheelchairs are routinely provided to the elderly and those who have temporary mobility difficulties, perhaps due to accident or illness. At time of writing, Shopmobility Belfast has 8,500 members and boasts eight different locations across the city.
2. Translink Half Fare SmartPass
A Translink Half Fare SmartPass entitles disabled people to a 50% discount on standard adult single fares for scheduled bus and rail services operating within Northern Ireland.
3. Disability Action Transport Scheme (DATS)
Formerly known as the door-2-door service, the Disability Action Transport Scheme (DATS) is a local specialist transport service for people living in towns or cities, who find it difficult to use public transport. The service is designed to allow people easier and more convenient travel to work, the shops and doctors’ appointments or to simply visit friends and family.
4. Accessible Parking Bays
In certain circumstances, disabled people are able to apply for an accessible parking bay to be placed on the road near their home or workplace. An accessible parking bay is a reserved space on an otherwise public road which can be parked in by Blue Badge holders only.
5. The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) Card
A Cinema Exhibitors’ Association (CEA) Card is part of a UK-wide scheme for people with disabilities and costs just £6 for a year. It is designed to ensure that cinemas which take part make all reasonable adjustments possible to improve your cinema going experience when you visit. One of the key benefits of the card is the provision of a free ticket for someone to go with you when you go to watch a film.
6. Better Gym Inclusive Membership
Better Gym Inclusive Membership provides disabled people full, anytime access to Better Gym gyms, swimming pools and fitness classes. It also allows for free entry for a carer or personal assistant, free six week refocus sessions and free, inclusive access to an expert instructor who can create a personalised exercise programme just for you.
7. The Giants Causeway Essential Companion Card
When visiting the Giants Causeway, an Essential Companion Card makes it much easier and cheaper to bring one or two carers or companions with you. All you need to do is to show the card upon arrival, and your carer(s) or companion(s) won’t need to pay an entry fee.
8. Disabled? Jump the Queue at Primark
Many Primark stores now have a special till to make shopping easier on certain customers. Disabled visitors to stores, pregnant women and other customers for whom queuing would be particularly uncomfortable can use the tills to complete their shopping with greater ease.
9. The Grand Opera House Free Companion Seat
Those disabled people wishing to soak up a bit of culture can benefit from the Grand Opera House free companion seat service. The service provides a free companion seat to visitors with disabilities who require essential assistance to attend the theatre. Any companion must be able to assist you in the event of an evacuation, and only patrons of the theatre aged over 14 can use the service.
10. SSE Arena Carers Tickets
SSE provide essential aid or carers tickets (subject to availability) to customers who would be unable to attend events without the support of another person. The tickets are offered either for free or at a discounted rate, depending on the event in question, and must be applied for via the Box Office at the time of ticket purchase. Certain other criteria must also be met to be eligible for the tickets, and these are provided via the SSE website.