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Local organisations offered chance to become Jam Card Friendly during Disability Week

26 November 2020
Derry City and Strabane District Council are offering local businesses, cultural venues and organisations the chance to be trained to become JAM Card Friendly as part of its comprehensive programme of events to celebrate Disability Week NI 2020.
In partnership with the Public Health Agency, the week of events from Monday November 30th to Friday December 4th aim to showcase and recognise the Council area's commitment to access and inclusion through the arts and raise awareness of the needs of those with disabilities. 
JAM Card allows people with a learning difficulty, autism or communication barrier to tell others they need ‘Just A Minute’ discreetly and easily. 
“Those with communication barriers are often reluctant or unable to tell others about their condition,” explained Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney. “JAM Card allows this to happen in a simple, effective non-verbal manner. 
“It sends out a positive message to locals and visitors that local businesses and organisations value all their customers and that we are an inclusive City and District, welcoming to all and sensitive to those who may need additional attention.
“I would encourage local businesses to get involved by signing up staff for this E Learning session and getting them JAM Card Friendly certified.” 
The JAM Card was originally developed for those with learning disabilities and difficulties but it can be used by anyone with a communication barrier.
It can be used by people with Asperger’s or autism, those with a brain injury or people who otherwise feel self-conscious about their ability to effectively communicate when engaging with others.
In just eight years, 60,000 people are now using  the 'Just A Minute' (JAMCard and app and 71% of JAM Card users report that it is easier to speak to people in public situations with their JAM Card.   
DCSDC's Access and Inclusion project, with support from Public Health Agency created an opportunity for all cultural venues' staff and volunteers to become JAM Card aware, beginning the process of becoming JAM Card friendly in 2019. 
Louise Boyce, DCSDC Access and Inclusion added: "This is a very innovative approach by DCSDC and reiterates the continuous efforts council implement to embed access and inclusion initiatives within our area. 
"During these challenging times we are keen to adapt to the changing landscape and provide opportunities to business and culture organisations that will go in some way to promote disability awareness and create a confident disability aware district to enhance experiences of people with disabilities and their family and carers."
In recognising the power of excellent customer service and the importance of Disability Awareness for those with communication barriers, council officials sought to support the business community within Strabane to become JAM Card Friendly in 2019.  JAM Card training was rolled out to over 50 businesses.  
This led to Strabane being defined as the first JAM Card Friendly town in UK and Ireland. 
As part of Disability Week NI 2020 there are ambitious plans to further expand  JAM Card training and provide additional opportunities for ALL businesses within the city and wider district.  
As DCSDC support businesses back to recovery, this additional resource will support such approaches inclusively.
For DCSDC business and culture venues and organisations to become JAM Card friendly please contact: jamcard@derrystrabane.com to find out more about the training and receive an information pack.
Please note the training opportunity is open until Friday 26th February 2021.
The programme for Disability Week NI has 40 free events which include disability arts, awareness and training sessions from a wide variety of organisations and webinars to support community and health professionals.
For further information on Disability Awareness Week visit: www.derrystrabane.com/DisabilityWeekNI.