Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

‘Snowball’ app rates businesses and services on how accessible they are

A new accessibility app developed by Simon Sansome allows disabled people to rate services and businesses based on how disability-friendly they are.

Mr Sansome is a wheelchair-user who was left paralysed from the waist down following a sudden injury in 2014. After a year of recovery, he took his wife to their favourite local restaurant only to realise there was no wheelchair access.

In light of this incident, Mr Sansome wanted to create an app which would allow users to find a restaurant, tourist attraction, supermarket or coffee shop that is accessible by selecting their location, wherever they are in the world.

“The app will give people the confidence to socialise with ease”

“Snowball will have a significant impact in giving people with physical disabilities, mental health issues and learning disabilities successful journeys and great days out.

“In the last few weeks we have seen BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner stranded on a plane at Heathrow, a Guide Dog charity executive asked to leave a supermarket because of his guide dog, and disabled children unable to access playgrounds.

“The app will give people the confidence to socialise with ease as they will be able to see what facilities and venues are available in their immediate location. They will also be able to plan days out, giving people more freedom to access their communities, explore and travel with confidence,” he said.

‘Snowball’ has received backing from two Paralympians

The app has received backing from Paralympians Hannah Cockroft OBE and Aaron Phipps MBE, as well as former BBC Newsround presenter Martin Dougan, Channel 4 News sports reporter Jordan Jarret-Bryan and Ciara Lawrence, learning disability podcaster.

Ms Cockroft said the app has been “a long time coming” and it will “change the everyday lives of many disabled people”.

“We will no longer have to turn up and pray we can get in, do hours of online research just to find out if we will be able to enter, or phone up and be told a venue is accessible, when it really, really isn’t – one step doesn’t make a huge difference, right? Snowball will give people back their time, freedom and independence and create an accessible space for all,” she said.

Snowball can be downloaded from major app stores

Mr Phipps has similarly hailed the app for providing users with a platform in which they can easily view accessibility information. He said: “Many times when I’m out with friends and family I’ve had to hop out of my chair and hobble around on my bum to get into places.

“Snowball will give me an accessible world and I won’t have to worry about going out anymore with friends and family because we will all know where we can access thanks to the app.”

Snowball can be found on major app stores including Google Play and the App Store.

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