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Companion Cards Making Entertainment More Accessible In Horowhenua

Enjoying Horowhenua attractions is now easier for people living with disabilities with the introduction of Companion Cards.

The initiative, born out of Council’s Access and Inclusion Network, aims to offer fair ticketing costs for individuals with life-long impairments who may require additional attendant companion support to engage in everyday activities at our partnering venues and activities.

The scheme allows caregivers of those with life-long impairments, free entry to local attractions when assisting a person with a Companion Card.

Attendant Companion Support may be provided by a friend, family member, or paid carer, offering significant assistance in mobility, communication, self-care, or learning.

Mayor Bernie Wanden says, “Companion Cards help people living with disabilities engage in everyday activities at partnering venues and activities, breaking down financial barriers which have stopped them enjoying these experiences in the past. Council’s vision is an inclusive Horowhenua where all people can live well, and access and enjoy opportunities to fulfil their potential and participate in all aspects of our community. We’re grateful to the businesses who have signed on for the Companion Card scheme as we work together towards this aspiration.”

The Horowhenua Companion Card is not issued to every person with an impairment, but specifically to individuals with life-long impairments who require additional support to participate in ordinary activities at partnering venues and events. To be eligible, you must also be a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand residing within the boundaries of Horowhenua.

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You can apply for a Companion Card online at horowhenua.govt.nz/CompanionCard and Horowhenua Libraries, and local Age Concern staff are able to help if you need any assistance with this. There is no cost for a Companion Card, and you will need to provide proof of your disability or impairment.

Council is proud to partner with Mana Whaikaha who administer the scheme. Once applications are verified, you'll be able to show it at approved venues when you purchase your tickets.

A Companion Card is valid for one year and is issued in digital format so card holders can keep them on their devices or print a copy if they prefer.

Companion Card holder Lael Marshall says, “This card helps me go out into the community and attend events. I didn’t go to events because I didn’t have enough money for both me and my support worker. Now, support workers can come in free to support me. I feel like a normal person with this card.”

Currently, there are seven generous businesses supporting the initiative:

  • Levin Aquatic Centre
  •  Foxton Pools
  • Medieval Market
  • Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō (for onsite events which have an entry fee)
  •  Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom (for onsite events which have an entry fee)
  •  MAVtech
  •  Wildlife Foxton Trust

Companion Cards are used throughout the world, but this is the first time they have been introduced in Horowhenua.

The cards aren’t limited only to free entry to local attractions. Local eateries can also consider offering discounts on kai or drinks, and other businesses might consider offering discounts on services or ticketing costs.

Businesses interested in supporting the Companion Card scheme are encouraged to email commdev@horowhenua.govt.nz.

Palmerston North City Council already have a Companion Card, and Manawatū Regional Council are also working on launching a Companion Card. It is the aim for all three Councils to, in the future, remove the boundaries so the Companion Card can be used across all three regions.

© Scoop Media

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