MID and East Antrim Borough Council has given its backing to a campaign that allows people with communication difficulties to discreetly tell others they need Just A Minute of patience.
NOW Group’s Just A Minute (JAM) initiative supports people with communication barriers such as learning difficulties, autism, Asperger’s, a brain injury or dementia.
The JAM Card is available as a card and app which can be used to alert staff in retail outlets, public transport and other areas of public life that the cardholder may require a little additional time when interacting with them.
The move follows a motion brought to Council recently by Councillor William McCaughey, and seconded by Councillor Reuben Glover.
Councillor McCaughey said: “Last year the JAM Card, a digital innovation from social enterprise NOW Group, was released.
“This project started off as a plastic credit card sized for service users who would like a discreet way of letting people know that they needed a little extra time.
“The scheme has been an incredible success to date, with thousands of people are already using the plastic card throughout Northern Ireland.
“One side says ‘Just a Minute’ and the other ‘Please be patient, I have a learning difficulty’.
“The NOW Group wanted a way to reach more people and felt that developing the card into a digital app would allow more people to access it and could also provide additional functionality as well as data feedback.
“The app is now widely available for download for free on Apple and Android phones.
“As a community pharmacist, our business has already signed up to the scheme and our staff are due to be trained soon to ensure they are providing the very best customer service to all of our customers.
“I am delighted Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has also given JAM its backing.
“The health and wellbeing of our citizens is a key priority for Council, as set out in our Community Plan ‘Putting People First’.”
The motion adopted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council states: "That this Council promotes across all its sites the NOW Group JAM (Just A Minute) card campaign to aid the promotion of confidence amongst those of our constituents with communication difficulties. That this council will ensure appropriate frontline staff dealing with the public are trained and educated to deal patiently with those with communication difficulties."
Diane Hill, Director of Business Development at NOW Group, said: “We’re delighted that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have committed to become a JAM Card Friendly organisation! Over 10,000 people in Northern Ireland now use the JAM Card and feedback from users demonstrates that it gives people confidence and in some cases allows people to access services independently for the first time.
“We developed a training package for businesses which is available as an online training course or a face to face workshop. This training ensures that organisations are welcoming and inclusive and their staff understand how to provide excellent customer service to JAM Card users.”
Find out more at www.nowgroup.org, call 028 90 436400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.