The Department for Enterprise has announced the addition of a new Accessibility Grant to its Financial Assistance Scheme (‘FAS’) to support businesses wishing to make adjustments in line with the Equality Act 2017.

The scheme amendment has been progressed by the Isle of Man Government’s Economic Recovery Group as part of the ‘Our Island’ work stream, which has been created to invest in initiatives that benefit the Island in the long term and in turn, will support the Island’s well-established construction sector through the provision of work that requires a valuable labour element.

The Equality Act 2017, which replaced the Disability Discrimination Act 2006, imposes an obligation on businesses to make adjustments to its services that allows disabled people to access services as close as reasonably possible as non-disabled people. The introduction of an Accessibility Grant to the Financial Assistance Scheme aims to assist businesses with making their services and premises more accessible and alleviate some of the financial impacts of making the changes.

The following support is available for both existing and new businesses:

  • Up to 50% towards permanent modifications required to premises, which may include signage, handrails, step edges, door handles, automatic doors, ramps, lifts, lighting, contrasting floor coverings, low counters, stair lifts, accessible facilities (i.e. toilets, washrooms, quiet spaces);
  • Up to 50% of plant and machinery costs which may include specialist furniture, counter or room induction loops with testing devices, portable payment terminals;
  • Up to 50% towards website modifications for accessibility purposes; and
  • Up to 50% towards other reasonable adjustments, at the Department’s discretion.

The total grant available is capped at a maximum of £7,500 per applicant and will cover businesses in all sectors with physical premises. The success of the grant will be reviewed in March 2021 by the Economic Recovery Group to determine whether it needs to be continued.

Laurence Skelly, Minister for Enterprise, commented:

‘The Economic Recovery Group is leading a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, investing in business support and stimulus measures to ensure our people have opportunities in the economic recovery, and that confidence is restored to the Isle of Man. Supporting businesses who need to make their premises accessible for their customers and employees is an integral part in ensuring we meet the needs of everyone in our community and ensuring inclusivity within our Island.’

For more information about the scheme, please visit Appendix 11 in the Financial Assistance Scheme guidelines: https://www.iomdfenterprise.im/fas

The Business Improvement Scheme (‘BIS’) also provides a grant of 50% (capped at £5,000) towards the cost of consultancy advice related to the Equality Act 2017. More information about BIS can be found at: https://www.iomdfenterprise.im/bis

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