martin presentes Credability award to flo skatepark

Martin Austin awarded MBE in Queen’s New Year Honours List

Martin Austin, Managing Director of Nimbus Disability and creator of the Access Card scheme has been named in the New Years Honours list for Accessibility in the Tourism and Entertainment Sector


Martin created Nimbus, a Derby-based Social Enterprise in 2006 as a way to generate additional income for the sister Charity Disability Direct and provide tailored Business-to-Business advice on the requirements of the Equality Act.

Over the years Nimbus has developed and delivered a range of consultancy services to businesses ranging from University’s, NHS Trusts, Premiership Football Clubs to Festivals, Arenas and Theatres.

Nimbus’ work culminated in the creation of the Access Card scheme which continues to grow at an exponential rate with support from organisations such as STAR and Attitude is Everything.

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The Access Card is an innovative way for disabled people and businesses to communicate access needs and provision through a series of symbols, an online ‘Box Office’ validation tool and/or a sophisticated digital integration into 3rd party systems.

Combinations of these are used by household names such as TicketMaster, Glastonbury, The O2 and many many more.

Earlier in 2019 The Access Card, together with The Ticket Factory won an Attitude is Everything “Ticketing Without Barriers” Award for their groundbreaking partnership on Accessible Ticketing for Disabled Customers.

Leading up to the official announcement of the New Years Honours, recipients of an award receive a letter confirming their inclusion in the list: in the strictest of confidence. Martin describes the experience of receiving this letter:

“There was the usual bundle of mail on my desk when I got into the office. After a little while of going through emails etc out of the otner of my eye I noticed a letter from the Cabinet Office. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the envelope.

“I had to read the letter a few times but couldn’t really take it in. Was it spam?! Eventually, it sank in and I was just… speechless!

“The worst thing has been knowing and not being able to tell anyone, at the same time as working out who I need to thank!”

Martin’s efforts are not limited to his paid role at Nimbus and the development of the Access Card. He has also for the last 10 years + volunteered his spare time to Chair and play for local Wheelchair Basketball team Derby Wheelblazers, a role which includes everything from fundraising to making 20 rounds of sandwiches on match days!

For the last 3 years, this has expanded to a point where he voluntarily coaches the University of Nottingham’s team which recently resulted in him being named Volunteer of the Year.

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What does the award mean to Martin? He said:

“I’m incredibly proud of the Honour but for me it’s not really about recognition of work that has already been done, but hopefully a tool to take what we’ve done with the Access Card scheme to it’s fullest potential.

“I have to thank Gavin, an Access Card holder and volunter at Disability Direct for the nomination and everyone that works so hard along side me to keep the wheels turning.

“It’s also vital to acknowledge the work thats gone before us. Before Nimbus or indeed Disability Direct (est. 1993) were even set up.

I’ve been involved in this movement for nearly 20 years and recognise that it’s a long slow slog improving society for disabled people.

It is only by working together and building on what has gone before that we will effect real change.”

The full citation in The Gazette, the official newspaper of the Crown, can be found here