Thousands of families who have children and young people with disabilities could benefit from a new leisure discount card in West Sussex.
There are more than 5,000 children and young people who are eligible for the Compass Card West Sussex, which could see families save hundreds every year.
The discount card was revealed today at a special launch event with free activities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
The launch was attended by more than 600 people who got active with archery, zip wires, an adventure trail, magical garden, alpacas, crafts and lots more.
Peter Evans, Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “The launch has been a huge success with families finding out how much of a difference the discounts will make.
“The first 200 cards have already been sent out and new applications are being made every day.
“We want this new card to break down the barriers which stop people from accessing services which other children and young people take for granted. Families will be able to find out easily which activities are adapted for children with disabilities and we hope it will also encourage more leisure services to extend their offerings.”
Compass Card West Sussex will be available for under 25-year-olds who are living or going to school in West Sussex, and have a disability or special educational need that has a big effect on their daily life.
Families signing up for the Compass Card West Sussex will be added to the county’s disability register and their personal information will be held securely under strict Data Protection legislation. Local charity Amaze, who has been commissioned to manage the discount card and the disability register, will also be able to collate anonymous data to help West Sussex County Council plan for the future more effectively.
Amaze has developed a similar offer in Brighton and Hove which is recognised as a national model of best practice and is estimated to save families around £700 per year.
Lisa Kendall, from Felpham, whose son Alfie has autism, said: “There’s so many things we go to with Alfie and he can’t really participate in some activities so it will be nice to get a discount which reflects this.”
Mother Naomi Nowell, from Hove, has been using the existing Compass Card with her six-year-old Jack, who has autism, and recommended the new card to family in West Sussex.
Naomi said: “It is so important to keep them entertained but it means we are constantly paying to go out to things so I use the discount card all the time. It’s really good and we end up doing lots with it. The new card will open up so much to our families.”
A total of 50 offers are currently listed in the Compass Card West Sussex guide. There is also a free app, linked with GPS, which will be updated weekly as the number of offers grows and it has the capacity to filter according to age, location and activity type. Find it in the Apple App Store or in Google Play by searching ‘compass card’.
Discounts on offer include:
• Activus Soft Play & Children’s Activity Centre, in Worthing – the first session is free and free entry for one accompanying carer
• Chichester Festival Theatre – special offers on selected shows
• Impulse Leisure, in Southwick, Lancing, Storrington, Shoreham-by-Sea – with one carer to go free with a Compass Card holder
• K2 Crawley – free swimming and gym
• Out of Bounds, in Angmering – 10% discount on climbing, soft play and Foot Golf for the card holder
• Star Cars, a wheelchair accessible taxi service in and around Crawley, with 15% discount
• West Sussex libraries – free CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and audio book lending
For more information visit www.westsussex.gov.uk and search for Compass Card, email CompassWSx@amazebrighton.org.uk or call 0300 123 9186.