Changing Society With Solutions
By Mary Fickling, Self Care Champion and Co Director of PhysioPod UK Limited and PhysioEquipment
Back in July, I was editing an article entitled “Hidden Disabilities” by Nichola Ebbern, Head of Health and Safety at Shepherds Bush Housing Association. I put out a request on social media for some help to source the origins of an image I wanted to include in the article.
One of the first people to come forward to help was a guy called Gavin Neate, who sent me a direct message on Twitter. Further chatter ensued and he was very helpful in sourcing other disability references that I needed. This kind of social interaction, we concluded, was ‘one of the better uses of the medium of Twitter!”
I vowed to look up exactly what Gavin did with my next available research time.
Gavin Neate, CEO and Founder of Neatebox Limited
It turns out that this very helpful guy at the other end of my Twitter inbox is one helluva entrepreneur and globally acclaimed digital innovator. Gavin Neate, is the CEO and Founder of Neatebox Limited. Gavin sees a problem and finds a solution. I asked Gavin if he had a CV, he’d never been asked for that before, he said, “left school, 10 years in the military police, 18 years working for Guide Dogs for The Blind and then I set up my own company”. I said “that’ll do for me Gavin!”
It was his experience of a blind customer being left to stand for 20 minutes in a well-known department store with no one coming to help him that led to the development of his latest innovation “WelcoMe”… a Disability aware customer service solution
At recent UN World Summit Awards, Neatebox were described as ‘global champions for inclusion and empowerment' for their latest innovation which helps disabled people get better customer service. It is both a mobile and web-based app which:
enhances customer experience
raises staff confidence around accessibility and
improves the interactions between staff and disabled people
provides instantaneous accessibility training, hints and tips
builds lasting relationships
Users of the free disability app create a personal accessibility profile of themselves and their condition and tap which assistance is pertinent to their needs and which is not. It takes about a minute. Then when they plan to visit a WelcoMe signed up facility (and there are many high-profile organisations on board) their details are passed on. This enables customer fronting staff at the shop, cafe, bank, hospital or entertainment provider to ensure the correct assistance is ready and waiting for them.
Did you know that
19% of the UK Population have a disability and that
80% of disabled people have ‘hidden impairments”?
Facts and Figures from Purple Pound (August 2020)
Where there is inaccessibility we need accessibility. Where there is unfairness we need change and as Gavin says in the 30 minute video interview below ‘under x-ray, we all look the same, we are the same and we should be treated the same”.
Gavin’s way of thinking encourages empowerment and self-care through choice, which is exactly the way it should be.
I really am so glad our paths crossed and I do hope to keep in touch with Gavin and relay to our readers just how the trial of WelcoMe is received at NHS Golden Jubilee Hospital. who are currently trialling the app, the NHS would be a perfect organisation to flagship this for the UK.
John m Griffin of Accessibility.com asks Gavin here all the questions I wanted to..