The National Key Scheme was set up in 1981 by the charity Disability Rights UK (previously Royal Association for Disability Rights, or RADAR) and was developed in response to some disabled public toilets having to be locked to prevent damage and misuse. The scheme allows key holders to use these toilets independently, and ensures that the facilities are in a clean, functional state and available when needed. Over 400 local authorities and thousands of businesses have joined the scheme since it began and today there are over 9,000 locked disabled toilets in the UK that are operated by RADAR keys.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of piracy, and these replica keys can damage the locks so the manufacturers needed to find a way to distinguish the genuine keys from the fake versions that are in circulation. To combat this growing problem, N&C Phlexicare redesigned the key to feature an attractive blue heart top. Not only is the new design difficult to copy, but it also makes the key easy to turn and more comfortable to hold for people with limited strength and dexterity due to their disability.
Blue Badge Company is a Bristol-based manufacturer specialising in stylish wallets for the disabled parking permit. The company also designs and manufacturers other helpful home comforts such as microwaveable wheat warmers and cushioned lap trays, all in bright and fun fabrics. As pioneers of inclusive employment opportunities, 40% of the team is either disabled or a primary caregiver. Blue Badge Company is also one of the first companies in the UK to stock the brand new Blue Heart Comfort Key, which is available to buy through its website with VAT exemption. You can also purchase a RADAR key with a Blue Badge Company key ring in Lloyds Pharmacy or from the Argos catalogue and website. “RADAR keys are much needed for a wide range of people who may suffer from various problems and cannot always manage stairs or a queue. Not everyone who has a genuine need for a key has a visible disability. Although these keys are for disabled people, they can be purchased by non-disabled people like pregnant women or those who have incontinence problems. The new blue heart design has been really successful so far – we’ve sold over 5,000 in under six weeks!” commented Ellen Green, Director, Blue Badge Company.
N&C Phlexicare are the inventors and official manufacturers of the RADAR national key scheme lock and key, having worked alongside Disability Rights UK nearly 40 years ago. “We wanted to launch a new key that incorporated a more ergonomic and aesthetic design that would be more suited to our users, whilst creating a blue heart design that helps new key users better identify the official RADAR key against fake alternatives that can be found circulating in the market. We are delighted to be working with Blue Badge Company to raise the profile of the scheme, and in doing so helping more people to obtain the keys they need to live more independently and with dignity.” Bhrugesha Panchal, Group Marketing Executive, N&C Phlexicare