JAM Cards on full display. From left to right: NOW Group ambassadors Grainne Cregan and Andrew Herd, and NOW CEO Maeve Monaghan
To mark International Day of People with Disability, we felt it was an appropriate time to share the news that JAM Card has reached the milestone figure of 60,000 users across the UK and Ireland – just eight years after it was launched in 2012.
The theme of this year’s International Day of People with Disability is ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’, and this certainly reflects the ethos of the JAM card, which asks others to have patience and allow JAM card users a little time to complete their request or interaction, which is especially important for those who do not have an obvious disability.
“For over 60,000 people, our JAM cards are a lifeline – 4 out of 5 users say the card is helpful in their everyday life. Originally developed by NOW group participants here in Belfast, we are so proud to have grown this initiative for both people with visible and hidden disabilities, and to have thousands of people now using our JAM cards across the UK and Ireland every single day,” comments NOW CEO Maeve Monaghan.
Having a JAM Card has made a real difference to our Ambassador, Andrew Herd, who has found added confidence by using his JAM card when travelling to and from his placement at the Ulster Historical Society. Andrew adds: “My JAM card gives me independence. When I’m in shops or travelling on the bus, by simply showing my JAM card, I’m asking for just a little bit of time from others, and people are always happy to do this.”
There are now over 1,800 businesses registered as JAM Card friendly, including many transport organisations, retailers, banks, colleges and one university. It is thanks to them that the reach of the JAM Card is now so wide. The support of these businesses and the effective training of staff within their organisations makes a huge difference to our society. And, in fact, 86% of JAM Card-friendly business would recommend other companies to get involved. Their support is what enables JAM Card users to have independent lives, whilst discreetly asking people for ‘just a minute’ when needed.
Maeve continues: “The demand for our JAM Cards has no geographical limitations and it’s fantastic to see businesses across the UK and Ireland committing to becoming a JAM Card friendly organisation.
Partner businesses to sign up in 2020 include Bank of Ireland and AIB who operate across the island of Ireland. Public bodies joining the JAM Card family recently include the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, the Office of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman, the Utility Regulator and Derry City and Strabane District Council. For these organisations, we have developed bespoke training packages to ensure they become JAM Card friendly and their commitment to the JAM card delivers maximum impact.
While this difficult year has presented new barriers to our service users, we are grateful that JAM Card has played its part in making life a little easier during unprecedented times. In 2021, we aim to continue the same growth trajectory that we have seen since 2012, extending JAM's reach to more people and businesses across borders.
JAM Cards are available in the standard card form or as a smartphone app for ease of access. To find out more or to request a card, please visit www.jamcard.org/jam-card.