Edinburgh tech firm has ‘opened up city’ to disabled people with Welcome app

Edinburgh technology company Neatebox has been nominated for Tech4Godd’s national accessibility award for its app Welcome – which helps disabled people navigate the Capital’s famous streets.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 6:00 am
Jonathan Attenborough, 29, with his guide dog.
Jonathan Attenborough, 29, with his guide dog.

The smart phone system is installed in many of the city’s major attractions including Jenners and the Scottish 
Parliament and has ‘opened up the city’ to people with disabilities.

Welcome addresses the issue of inadequate customer service for visitors with specific accessibility requirements caused by businesses lack of disability awareness.

The free app allows disabled people to request visits to participating venues, indicating the areas where they need customer service staff to have awareness of any assistance required.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jonathan Attenborough, 29, is blind and has been using the app for the last year.

Explaining how it works, he said: “So I open the app on my phone and see the list of venues which are signed up. I just message them to let them know when I’m going.

“They confirm that they know I’m on my way and it gives them time to work out how to help and what assistance they need.

“They also get information about what my disability is and what assistance I need. I am a guide dog user and I need people to know not to distract my dog, people always wanted to pet or feed him but they know not to do that now.”

The freelance accountant explained that the app has taken away the anxiety he used to feel when going into venues in Edinburgh.

He said: “Before the app, if I was to go into a shop I would walk through the doors and just stand there hoping someone would come and help me, often I couldn’t find a member of staff and would just have to turn around and leave

“Jenners was particularly difficult, it’s a maze to get around and I would never have considered going before the app.”

But now, through the use of Welcome, Mr Attenborough can walk into Jenners with confidence.

He said: “When I visited Jenners with the app someone met me at the door and escorted me to the cafe where I was having lunch with a friend.

“After I finished the staff in the cafe phoned down and the member of staff came and got me and took me down again.

“Ever since Welcome has been available I have been able to go to places I couldn’t before, and I don’t feel anxious about going in”.

App creator Gavin Neate said: “We jumped at the opportunity to install Welcome at Jenners. The results have been phenomenal with five stars reviews for every visit since it’s launch on the UK’s biggest disability review site, Euan’s guide.”

“The awards are truly great as they prove we are heading in the right direction and will certainly help spread our message of inclusion across the globe”

The Tech4Good awards will take place in Edinburgh on July 24.