The project will include seminars to raise awareness and educate providers of benefits about physical and online accessibility, the needs and user habits of people with disabilities, what and how they can contribute to greater accessibility of their range of services, products and activities – physical and online or digital. In this way, they will be able to get closer to the still untapped market of consumers with various disabilities. This will greatly contribute to greater social inclusion of disabled people – cardholders and also attract potential holders.
On the other hand, it is a great challenge to attract and encourage people with disabilities to use the card, as many of them have bad experiences with social inclusion projects, which rarely bring sustainable results that they would notice in their daily lives. Therefore, it will be necessary to strengthen the trust of users through targeted intensive awareness-raising and information, which will take place through the network of NSIOS members.
At the same time, we will strengthen trust through seminars for cardholders and potential cardholders – they will be informed about the method of use, individual providers and the options offered by the card, and will be informed that they are also the ones who need to warn the providers of the unavailability of their services, products or facilities – therefore, they will be informed that as benefit card holders they can assess the offer and availability of any provider and submit their assessment in the dedicated section of the EU Benefit Card website and inform the provider and the community of other cardholders. As part of the project, the project partner, the Urban Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, will carry out expert assessments of the accessibility of facilities of providers of benefits in the field. They will do this with field colleagues – people with various disabilities and experts in the field of urbanism and architecture. These will list the inaccessible and accessible elements in the provider’s facility, and information on this will be published on the website of each provider. In this way, cardholders will be able to check the status and availability of an individual benefit provider in advance and decide on this basis whether they will use the benefits or its services as consumers.
The project is coherent and implemented within the Operational Program for the Implementation of European Cohesion Policy in the period 2014-2020, priority axis 9: “Social inclusion and poverty reduction”, 9.1 priority investments: “Active inclusion, including the promotion of equal opportunities and active participation, and increasing employability “, 9.1.3 of the specific objective:” Prevention of slipping into poverty or social exclusion and reducing health inequalities “. The project is also in line with European directives: the Access to Goods and Services Directive and regulations, and the European Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030, which explicitly mentions the EU Disability Benefits Card and the importance of mutual recognition of benefits for target groups.
The purpose of the project: through an integrated approach and systematic activities to increase the social inclusion of target groups of people with disabilities through greater accessibility and accessibility of products and services. Project value: a maximum of EUR 399,628.32 (in words: three hundred and ninety-nine thousand six hundred and twenty-eight euros and thirty-two cents) to co-finance the total eligible costs of the operation under the contract.
- upgrade and establish a properly accessible website and mobile application of the EU Disability Benefit Card in accordance with the recommendations of WCAG 2.1, at least at the AA compliance level;
- increase the number of benefit providers and increase the number of holders of the EU Disability Benefit Card;
- expert analysis of the physical accessibility of facilities of benefit providers, which represents a substantive upgrade of the pilot project, as these activities have not yet been implemented.
The project “Improving the accessibility of goods and services for people with disabilities with the European Benefit Card” is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the European Union, European Social Fund. Project timetable: 1.7.2021 to 31.12.2022.