Date: 31 Mar 2023
2 Royal Avenue, Belfast city centre’s cultural and civic space, is now a JAM card friendly venue.
By signing up to the NOW Group’s 'Just a Minute' (JAM) initiative, staff at the facility, owned by Belfast City Council, have received training to ensure they are equipped to provide excellent customer service to people with learning difficulties and communication barriers.
Signage has also been installed throughout the building to reassure JAM card carriers of a positive and welcoming experience.
The award-winning JAM scheme was created by participants with the Belfast-based NOW Group to allow people with a learning difficulty, autism or a communication barrier to tell others they need 'just a minute' discreetly and easily. Those with a communication barrier are often reluctant or unable to tell others about their condition but being a JAM card user or JAM card app user allows this to happen in a simple, effective, non-verbal manner.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black, has welcomed the venue’s new status.
“Since 2 Royal Avenue opened its doors as a creative space in the heart of the city centre, it’s become a much-loved venue, and we want to make sure everyone can enjoy the huge variety of events and opportunities that it offers,” she explained.
“Our tourism plan also commits to leading on accessible and inclusive tourism, so it’s great to see the team receiving practical, hands-on training on how they can best assist customers who may have a disability or other communication barrier and, in doing so, really help to make a positive difference to someone’s experience or day out.”
The announcement follows several accessibility enhancements at 2 Royal Avenue – the former Tesco Metro premises - to support increased participation. The venue’s sensory area has also been recently upgraded with funding from the Department for Communities, enabling it to deliver a wider range of events for all ages and abilities.
"We are absolutely delighted to become a JAM Card friendly venue. Our staff are naturally patient and caring, but the training has really reminded us all of how important that is, “ said Lois Kennedy, Managing Director of MayWe Events, who manage the space.
“It has been a very exciting time in 2 Royal Avenue. Enhancing our sensory area will further increase our venue’s accessibility and improve the visitor experience. We welcome thousands of people through our doors each week and are continually striving for it to be a welcoming and inclusive venue for all."
2 Royal Avenue is the latest venue to join the NOW Group’s JAM initiative, with 135,000 users now carrying the card or using the app.
“We are thrilled to be working with the staff at 2 Royal Avenue, training the team to become JAM Card friendly. Since launching the JAM Card initiative in 2012, the scheme has been a resounding success, with more than 2,500 organisations across the region participating in the training programme,” said Nicola Tipping, Business Development Manager of Now Group.
“We’re delighted to now build upon that momentum by announcing this new partnership with one of Belfast’s newest event spaces, helping to support those with hidden disabilities enjoy the facilities. We hope that this announcement will encourage other organisations across all industries to see the benefits of joining us in committing to support those with visible and hidden disabilities through our JAM Card initiative.”