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Case Study: Direct Access- Department for International Trade

Case Study DIT 01/01/0001

Nantwich disability consultancy helped to export by DIT

Established in 2004, Direct Access is a leading disability accessibility consultancy advising organisations on improving access. All the team have a disability and with DIT help in 2017 started exporting, opening an office in the United Arab Emirates in 2018 to work on projects in the region including Expo 2020 Dubai. By 2020 more than 80% of the company’s income was from exporting British expertise in accessibility.  

In 2019 Direct Access Store was established to install and supply access equipment including evacuation chairs and induction loops in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Following the start of the 2020 COVID19 pandemic Direct Access Store utilised its international contacts to source vital PPE supplies and deliver to local authorities, care homes and disability charities working in the frontline. When small organisations made it clear they were struggling to meet the minimum order quantities from manufacturers, the company stepped in to purchase large volumes of stock to break down and distribute in smaller packages. From the historic mining towns and villages of the South Wales valleys to the industrial North East and Hampshire’s coastal towns, Direct Access’ team of disabled drivers are delivering vital PPE. 

During a challenging period with companies looking to reduce their headcount, Direct Access is actually looking to recruit more staff. They are creating opportunities for disabled people to be involved in supporting the UK’s COVID19 solutions.  

The media focus is very much on care homes and the NHS. There is limited coverage of the valuable work that disability organisations do – it is this group of organisations that Direct Access has been able to support. Indeed, such is the growth of product supply in the space of three months that the company is on the hunt for a suitable distribution warehouse to take on more stock. New vans have been leased to assist with the rapid distribution of PPE equipment and as the pandemic reduces this distribution network will be used to support the roll out of various ancillary aids to assist with accessibility.