Islanders who in the past have sometimes suffered discrimination because they can’t communicate properly should soon find life easier.
The Connect Card is a pilot scheme that’s being launched next week, which by explaining a person’s difficulties, aims to avoid awkward or even dangerous situations that could potentially arise from misunderstandings.
The scheme’s being backed by numerous States’ departments and many of the Island's disability charities and groups - including Les Amis, Jersey Mencap, Autism Jersey, Jersey Deaf Society, EYECAN, Headway and The Stroke Association.
According to those backing the project it’s not just those with communication problems who’ll benefit. It’s hoped it’ll also mean bar staff, bank cashiers, hospital workers and taxi drivers will be able to use the information to tailor their services to the cardholder’s needs.
Advocate Caroline Dutot, chair of the Connect card working group, said: “The Connect scheme is a project spearheaded by members of the Island’s community for the Island’s community. It will mean that those with individual communication needs will have easier access and greater assistance in the community.”
Senator Paul Routier, Assistant Chief Minister with special responsibility for disability issues, said: “The Connect card has the potential to improve the lives of many, by facilitating simple and everyday interactions. I believe the scheme will benefit the community as a whole – from service users to essential service providers such as the hospital and the police, and indeed local businesses too.”
The scheme’s being formally launched on Thursday and will begin with a pilot of 500 cardholders. During the pilot phase, applications can be made via the Les Amis website. It is hoped that if the pilot is successful, funding will be achieved to launch the scheme to a wider number of people.