The Compass Team at Amaze talked to two families about how they use their Compass Cards and what they plan for summer 2017.

Hello to Faith and Mason

Faith, who lives in West Sussex with five year old Mason, got her Compass Card in March this year, so she’s a relative newcomer to the scheme. Mason has Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and some elements of Dyspraxia. Going to new places is challenging for him, but his additional needs aren’t immediately obvious to outsiders.

…And Emma and Jack

Emma is Brighton-based and 14 year old Jack has Down Syndrome. Emma applied for Jack’s Compass Card “at least 10 years ago” and knows the ropes well. These days, Jack is working towards greater independence and increasingly goes out with his PAs (personal assistants), as well as the family. Emma’s day job at Amaze also brings her into contact with families of disabled children and young people in Brighton and Hove, so she often finds herself advising others about leisure and the Compass Card.

The start of a Compass Card journey

Faith is still exploring Compass Card offers with Mason, but the family has already enjoyed trips to Washbrooks Family Farm in Hurstpierpoint, Amberley Museum and Splashpoint in Worthing. Splashpoint is already a firm favourite. “It’s been great Mason sitting on Faith's knee.– it’s easy to use the Compass Card there and staff are well-informed. Mason’s needs aren’t visible and crossing thresholds is a big thing for him. You just show the card and it’s a discrete way of highlighting his needs”, Faith explains.

Mason loves the outdoors and physical activity. The jumping pillows at Washbrooks were a hit and his swimming skills are developing fast, thanks to regular trips to Splashpoint. Having done one to one lessons at Wadurs, Mason tries his new skills out at Splashpoint.

When we interviewed Faith, she’d only just downloaded the Compass Card app to her ‘phone [go to the Water flume at Splashpoint swimming pool.App Store or Google Play and search ‘compass card’, then download the Brighton and Hove or West Sussex version]. “Until now, I’ve relied on the weekly e-newsletter – I love the fact there are discounts on theatre productions, there are some amazing deals. I downloaded the app last night when I knew I was going to talk to you. I’ll start using it now and I’m going to look at the website to get ideas about places to visit.”

Faith is looking forward to the summer holidays and exploring some new possibilities with Mason and seven year old brother, Harry. “The Compass Card is giving us new experiences and because it’s cheaper, it’s worth giving things a try and if we have to leave, it’s not such a big deal. I want to try Groombridge [Place] – they’ve got some special activities over the summer – and we’ll be using the outdoor pool at Splashpoint. I want to try Knockhatch [Adventure Park] too. There’s plenty of stuff they can both do there.”

10 years of using the Compass Card

For Emma and Jack, the Compass e-newsletter has been vitally important for years. “When Jack was young, it was the highlight of my week. Knowing what was on offer and getting ideas was invaluable”, says Emma.

Now Jack goes out more with his PAs, but the newsletter still provides plenty of inspiration. “It tells usEmma with Jack on beach in kayak. things we don’t know about and if there’s a Compass Card offer and you have to abandon the idea, you haven’t wasted as much money. You feel you can trust a place more if there’s an offer in place. And there’s safety in numbers – if it’s in the newsletter, you may see other people you know there too. I think we’ve done tons more than we would have done without the Compass Card.”

Emma’s also hooked on the Compass Card app and the offers page on the Compass Card website. “When I want to check out offers, I search the app and I love browsing round the website. I’ve been doing some research for the summer holidays – Jack will be with his PA during the week, but we’ll be planning family outings at the weekend.”

Emma loves a bit of ‘Compass Card blagging’ where she shows the card at places where there isn’t an official offer. “You’ve got to be charming and assertive, but it works – organisations often want to be inclusive and they’ll give you their disability discount.”

She lists the family’s favourite offers. “The cinema’s huge in our lives, so The Odeon and The Duke of Duke of York's cinema.York’s and the Duke’s at Komedia in Brighton. Sea Life was a big favourite when Jack was little. Swimming is great and we go to the pools at King Alfred in Hove and Prince Regent in Brighton. And we’ve always loved the theatre offers, especially at the Theatre Royal and The Dome”
Emma particularly recommends Brighton Kayak Experience with Rob Leatham. “Rob’s amazing with the kids. The fearlessness and confidence he instills in them is just brilliant.”

This summer, Emma’s checking out Loxwood Joust on 5/6 and 12/13 August where there’s a Compass Card offer in place, as well as Compass Card festival offers like Core Fest on 29 July in Walberton. She’s also interested in Chichester Harbour Conservancy which is providing discounts on the Solar Heritage catarmaran. “There’s so much to do, I might have to cancel our holiday!” she jokes.

We’re offering prizes for your best summer ideas

We’re blogging about leisure over the summer holidays, but we want ideas from you and we’ll be offering prizes for the best ideas. The ideas could be Compass Card offers, or have nothing to do with the Compass Card. You can comment below by logging on with your Facebook, Twitter or Google account (or if you prefer, email compass@amazebrighton.org.uk or message us at Amaze Compass on Facebook) – and answer all or just one or two of the following:

1. What’s your ‘Failsafe leisure activity’ – the one that more or less works every time? Why does it work?

2. What’s your recommendation for ‘Leisure on a budget’ when money is tight? What does it cost and why do you think it’s a bargain?

3. Rainy day rescues or shelter from the heat – if you need to go undercover, what places do you recommend and why?

4. Do you have any other leisure tips or ideas for the summer? Please share them!