Support grows for app campaign to help people with disabilities

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Support is growing for a Wearside campaign which could bring huge benefits to millions of disabled people.

Celebrities and dignitaries have given their backing to assist-Mi, the disability access app which was co-founded by Sunderland entrepreneurs Neil Herron and Gary McFarlane.

The app offers disabled people the chance to request assistance in advance - before they turn up at shops or any other service provider - so that it’s ready for them when they get there.

The latest to make assist-Mi a massive hit, is a campaign on the online platform Kickstarter which the organisers are describing as an “access revolution.”

People can give different levels of support from becoming an assist-Mi ‘Hero’ for £10 to ordering licences for service providers of an individual’s choosing.

The campaign has the support of celebrities including television broadcaster Clare Balding who urged people: “Pledge some money for the amazing rewards to ensure that the world becomes a more inclusive and accessible place.”

Inclusiveness has been the spine of my journey and it’s fantastic to see this amazing app assist-Mi giving people with all sorts of challenges the same opportunities to enrich their lives

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie said: “Inclusiveness has been the spine of my journey and it’s fantastic to see this amazing app assist-Mi giving people with all sorts of challenges the same opportunities to enrich their lives.

“Things we take for granted like filling the car up, it’s extraordinary that they can now do that with great ease and dignity.”

Sunderland City Council is getting behind the Access Revolution with training in its flagship technology building Sunderland Software Centre.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “For us, assist-Mi really does epitomise what Sunderland is about – an inclusive, welcoming, smart city that is setting the pace.

“The difference that assist-Mi can make to the lives of people in Sunderland, in the UK, and indeed globally, cannot be overestimated – this is an app that can transform the day-to-day lives of disabled people visiting Sunderland or living in the city, so we are delighted to trial it at a centre that is at the heart of our business and technology landscape, and we hope this is the first of many properties across Sunderland to adopt the technology.”