On our third birthday as an independent digital accessibility company, Access Advisors is thrilled to announce some great news. Firstly, we now have offices in Ōtautahi (Christchurch). Ross, Katherine, Kevin, Bryn and Chandra will be based in the Garden Lounge at Blind Low Vision’s offices in Christchurch, when they aren’t working from home that is. Big thanks to all who made this possible.

Secondly, we are now officially working alongside several other key New Zealand accessibility service providers; namely the Accessibility Tick, Be Lab, CCS Disability Action and of course Blind Low Vision NZ. Access Advisors is no stranger to working with these other organisations in various ways over the years, but now it’s official and we’d like to shout it out.

All of these accessibility service providers have similar values, provide complementary services and are also aiming to help create a more accessible Aotearoa (New Zealand). The alliances will help our current and future clients more easily find the right accessibility services through a simple referral.

Starting out on the accessibility journey can be daunting. These alliances mean that if a business approaches Access Advisors for digital services we can also refer them to other organisations who provide complementary services in the employment, public spaces, buildings, leadership and alternative format spaces. And vice versa, if someone approaches the other organisations for digital services, they will pass them onto us.

A Brief History

Blind Low Vision NZ (known as the Blind Foundation at the time) started providing ad hoc accessibility services of different types to the public around 2008. Our own Kevin and Britta were some of the original advisors.

Then in July 2017 BLVNZ took these services a step further and created a dedicated service offering, Access Advisors, who provided a variety of services including digital and employment services. The Accessibility Tick was also part of the original offering.

In November 2019 Access Advisors became an independently New Zealand-owned and operated digital accessibility consultancy. Dr Chandra Harrison, who has 20+ years of experience in accessibility and usability, purchased the digital aspects of the business from BLVNZ.

At the same time Phil took ownership of the Accessibly Tick programme. Chandra’s Access Advisors chose to specialise in digital as there were others in the NZ market already doing wonderful accessibility work in employment and the built environment.

Three years on our Access Advisors’ team has grown substantially and demand for accessibility services is increasing, both in digital and other areas. With the creation of Whaikaha (the Ministry of Disabled People), we felt that now is a good time to show how organisations can work together to ‘Enable Good Lives.’

Accessibility Tick

Accessibility Tick provide a robust framework to support organisations to create more accessible organisations. Access Advisors provides digital support for Accessibility Tick and its’ members who receive a 10% discount on services. We have a strong relationship with Phil and the team. Access Advisors provides the Tick members with support in one of the nine areas that the Tick promotes. Check out Accessibility Tick’s website for more information.

Be. Lab

Be. Lab provide design plan reviews, and accessibility assessments, helping businesses understand how to make accessibility improvements in the built environment, customer service and culture. They also provide workshops to help build accessibility into workplace culture. Be. Lab and Access Advisors are both committed to best practice, and we’re delighted to announce that going forward Access Advisors will support Be. when their clients are looking for digital accessibility services. Check out Be. lab’s website for more information.

CCS Disability Action

CCS Disability Action provide a variety of access services, predominantly around public spaces and buildings. CCS do not offer digital accessibility services. Access Advisors and CCS have a reciprocal Memorandum of Understanding that will ensure that people who approach either of us will be referred to the right people. Check out CCS Disability Action’s website for more information.

Blind Low Vision NZ

BLVNZ, provide signage and accessible alternative format services. If organisations come to BLVNZ for digital access services Access Advisors will provide these services. If our clients need help with braille documents we will refer them back to BLVNZ. We are also thrilled that Access Advisors Christchurch team are now based in the BLVNZ CHCH offices. Check out BLVNZ’s website for more information.

So whenever you need advice about accessibility, you can be reassured that one of us will make sure you get referred onto the right services. And if you have any questions about this post or are looking for accessibility services, then please email us.