By Jennifer Birchall, ClubsNSW
The NSW Companion Card program is for people with a significant and permanent disability who need a high level of care in the community. The Companion Card allows a cardholder’s support person free entry into participating venues and events.
The card itself is the size of a credit card, with the name and a photo of the holder — the person with the disability. When the card holder buys a ticket for themselves at selected venues and facilities around NSW, their companion gets free entry. A companion is a person who provides attendant care, which could be a partner, family member, friend, volunteer or paid carer.
Becoming an affiliated business is free. When you sign up as an affiliated business, you can use the Companion Card logo on your premises and marketing materials, which will show your customers that you are committed to helping people with disabilities be more active and engaged in your community.
The Companion Card helps to provide social inclusion and community access for all. Accepting the card also helps businesses meet certain obligations under anti-discrimination legislation, provides connection to an extensive and often untapped market, and helps you identify customers who may need significant help from a carer to participate in activities and to visit your venue.
Peter Saez, CEO of Epping Club, is a fervent supported of the Companion Card program.
“Adopting the Companion Card was important to us as a community organisation. Much of our ClubGrants work is centred in disability and inclusion and we see that offering the Companion Card is the next step in a continued path for this. It has minimal impacts to us as a business and huge impacts for those who can as a result access live entertainment and events at The Club.
“It seems obvious that in 2023 nobody with a disability should be marginalised or socially excluded over something as simple as their carer’s ticket price, I encourage all Clubs to support this initiative.”
What is Attendant Care Support?
Attendant care includes significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care or planning where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies does not enable the person to carry out tasks independently. Attendant care does not include providing reassurance or encouragement, nor can it be for infrequent or unexpected events or medical emergencies.
The Companion Card cannot be issued to people who only require attendant care for social support, reassurance, encouragement or just-in-case-type of scenarios.
Affiliation is free. Businesses and organisations that affiliate with the scheme are provided with promotional materials, as well as an entry in the searchable online database used by cardholders. Approximately 50 NSW clubs have already become affiliated businesses with the Companion Card. You can register your club with the Companion Card program here.