Nadege Schiltz, director, Secret Access
Why was the company created?
The creation of Secret Access involves something very personal. Great Britain always felt like my home and little did I know, this is where my life flipped around in a 360° circle and I met my fiancé. My fiancé is in a wheelchair and I could never have expected, how challenging his everyday life could be. When my fiancé asked if some of the restaurants I liked to visit were accessible, I did not know. I could not even remember if I climbed up any steps, as just like most people, I walked without realising; it’s a common fact. My fiancé has been an eye opener on how unfair and frustrating the simple things can be, for example booking a restaurant, turning up and no access available. Sometimes, if there is access, my fiancé becomes an immediate spectacle, as he has to wait outside, whilst someone brings a big, clunky ramp that looks like it was constructed out of toy parts. Literally being sick and tired of my fiancé not being able to access places because of building regulations or the fact that the access was terrible and places could not be bothered because access was extra work, forced me to develop a sustainable access solution that fights accessibility problems at the core.
How do you view current access standards?
Accessibility has been lost from progressing with the times of technology and innovative thinking. The current access solutions on the market are not working, seriously expensive, over complicated to install, require huge amounts of space and are aesthetically not pleasing for the user of access and the place providing access. I know for a fact that my fiancé was accustomed to putting up with these access standards which was not acceptable.
What are Secret Access solutions?
Secret Access solutions are ramps hidden within an entrance step of a place, so when not in use, the ramps are concealed. This means there is no permanent access structure required in front of a place or building to provide access. With Secret Access solutions there is no need to demolish entrances at a costly expense just to provide access. All of our access solutions developed ensure that they can work within the existing boundaries of the place that has no access.
Is there a message behind Secret Access?
Secret Access does not only encompass the desire to make every place and building accessible in the most seamless way. It encompasses the idea that everyone should have access to any place regardless of their disability and their physical challenges. As modern society we are very inclusive of different communities and ideas however over the past issues of accessibility have been left behind. I take pride in saying that Secret Access is making accessibility aesthetically pleasing but what really drives me is creating access for people that can’t just walk up steps like my fiancé, having a life without limits.