International Trader of the Year

Direct Access, the Cheshire-based deaf-run accessibility firm, has won International Trader of the Year at the prestigious South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce Awards. The award recognises Direct Access’ successful first year in the United Arab Emirates and the opening of the company’s first offices in Dubai.

Established fifteen years ago in the UK, Direct Access advises organisations on how to make sure their buildings and services are accessible for disabled people. Millions of people daily use a building or service audited by Direct Access ranging from Virgin Rail and Eurostar trains, London Gatwick airport, the Sport Wales Governing body, tourist sites such as the House of Parliament, and the historic Roman Baths, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Since 2017, Direct Access has provided consultancy services in the United Arab Emirates working on projects for Nando’s, Emrill, and some iconic large-scale construction projects. In August 2018, they opened an office at Dubai South, to service disability access auditing and training contracts in the Middle East.

Established by profoundly deaf Steven Mifsud in 2004, Direct Access has worked on accessible design for several UK projects, but we have taken aim at bringing our firsthand knowledge of disability issues in further territories “A year ago we started to look at how we can share British expertise in inclusive design in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” said Director Steven Mifsud.

“The 2017 launch of the Dubai Universal Design Code by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai was the opportunity we needed to support clients with ensuring compliance with accessibility.”

“Winning the accolade is the result of an exciting year in the Middle East. It is just the start of our plans to improve accessibility in the Middle East for disabled people. What makes us unique is all of our team have some form of disability providing our clients with unrivalled knowledge into the barriers that disabled people face and how we can address these.

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