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Council supports improved access for all

Thursday, June 16, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: disabilities, accessibility

A new card to improve access is now being used at all Selwyn District Council facilities.

The Hāpai Access Card is now accepted at all Council facilities, allowing staff to better support people with disabilities to access and use the Council’s services.

The scheme has been in use in Aotearoa New Zealand for 18 months, based on a similar system running in the United Kingdom.

It uses a card that the holder can show a participating organisation. Icons on the card show what assistance a person may need, helping the organisation to provide the appropriate support. Staff have been trained to support card holders.

The icons on each card are unique to the holder and their needs and provide a discreet way for people to indicate to Council staff what they need to help them best use the facility and services.

Group Manager Community Services and Facilities Denise Kidd says the cards fit well with the Council’s commitment to accessibility in its Accessibility Charter.

“Our facilities and our services are for all our residents and anyone who needs them," she says "We want to make sure that everyone feels welcome and is able to use our services and get the full benefits of them. The Hapai Access Card is another way that we can be more welcoming and help reduce the barriers that make it harder for people to use our services.”

It was encouraging to see the way Council staff welcomed the initiative and the Council’s wider accessibility work, Hapai Access Card Executive Manager Susan Jackson says.

"It has been great to have the opportunity to onboard Selwyn District Council’s sites to the Hāpai Access Card. Two things that impress me. Firstly the willingness of the operations staff to embrace this tool for improving accessibility, and secondly the commitment of the property and building staff to up the standard, and to continue to improve accessibility in Council buildings."