2,500 residents in Nottinghamshire have now joined a disabled registration card scheme pioneered by the County Council.
It has been reported this week that the number of reported hate crimes targeting disabled people has reached a record high in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, doubling since 2008.
The disabled card scheme, which has been available since 2008, enables people who are not obviously disabled to prove they have a disability.
This can help them if they are challenged when using disabled toilets, if they need help whilst out shopping or need any other help whilst out and about.
The Council was the first authority to introduce the disabled registration cards in the country.
People are eligible for the card, which is free and valid for six years, if they meet one of the following criteria:
registered as blind
receive Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Industrial Injury Constant Attendance Allowance
user of a long-term indwelling catheter or stoma.
The scheme was launched after disabled resident Terry Gallagher, from Arnold, approached his local councillor with the problem. He continues to use the card.
He said: “I had received abuse and discrimination because my disabilities were hidden by clothing. Now, with the disabled card, I never need explain again - showing the card is all I need to do.”
Coun Kevin Rostance, the Council’s Committee Chairman for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “The demand for the disabled registration card is still strong four years after its launch which demonstrates how useful this scheme is.
“Not all disabilities are obvious which can cause difficulties so it is important that people have a means to prove their disability if there is any challenge or doubt.”
People can apply for a card by phoning the County Council on 08449 80 80 80 or visiting its website at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/caring