Meet The Founders
Rich Copson was diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 16 and for many years he struggled to come to terms with this diagnosis, eventually seeking help for his mental health as a result.Having worked in retail banking for the past 12 years, Rich has first-hand experience of the many challenges people with disabilities face to ensure their conditions are supported over the years. Rich now uses that experience to help young disabled people find employment through his voluntary role as an enterprise advisor for a local special needs school called Ashfield Academy. Two years ago, Rich became an ambassador for “Alex’s Wish”, a charity that raises funds for research into the life-limiting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and he created his own successful social media brand called “The MD Fighter” to motivate others with disabilities to embrace the abilities they have to offer. In his spare time, Rich enjoys playing wheelchair rugby for the Leicester Tigers and he hopes to set an example to people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Jignesh Vaidya was born in Mumbai and at the age of two he contracted polio which left him partially paralysed. He moved to England with his parents at 16 and for the past nine years, he has worked as a Project Assistant and Disability Champion for the disability employment specialists Remploy.
As part of his work at Remploy, Jignesh promotes disability equality in employment at events. He also works closely with young disabled people, coaching and inspiring young disabled people in schools and colleges to believe in themselves and understand the world of work better.
In his free time, Jignesh plays and coaches wheelchair basketball as well as coaching young disabled sportspeople. As an expert by experience, Jignesh is extremely passionate about disability access and helping businesses to become more disability-friendly.
Mark Esho is a disabled multi-award winning British entrepreneur and founder and co-owner of both Easy Internet Services Ltd, Easy Internet Solutions Ltd and Dreme Ltd.
At the age of five, he contracted polio, leaving him paralysed from the neck down. He was originally given a 10% chance of survival but was eventually able to regain limited mobility and went on to write a best-selling autobiography detailing his struggles called I Can. I Will.
He now spends his time running his businesses and works close with the DWP (Department of Works & Pensions) giving talks to employers on the benefits of employing disabled people and talks elsewhere on resilience, overcoming boundaries and being a disabled entrepreneur.
Access Rating is a social enterprise run by disabled people, for disabled people. We want to make the lives of disabled people easier – and that all starts with accessibility!
Knowledge is power – and we’ll be collating information about hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants around the UK to take the anxiety out of leaving the house for disabled people.
Just a simple browse of our app will show you how local venues are performing when it comes to accessibility for disabled people.
We’re focused on achieving positive change – not accessibility shaming. We want to help venues become the best they can be. This is one of the reasons why we’ll also be providing a disability access consultancy as a service for venues, too.
We’ll also be providing work opportunities for disabled people and engaging in community outreach work with local young people.
We’re a small social enterprise, but our aim is to make a real, positive difference for disabled people nationwide.
So what are our plans for the future? Well, by 2021 we hope to have collated enough reviews to list the Top 10 bars, hotels and restaurants across the UK. We also plan to add additional categories such as sports venues, etc. In 2022, we have plans to take Access Rating international, starting with Europe, US, Canada, Australia & New Zealand.