What is a CEA Card?
The CEA Card is a national scheme that was developed for the UK by UKCA (the UK Cinema Association). The scheme helps to enable disabled people to access the cinema firstly, by providing you with a complimentary ticket for the person who goes with you i.e. a friend, family member, carer or personal assistant. Secondly, it can help enhance your cinema experience as using your card when purchasing your tickets will help the employees to identify you as a disabled person. A CEA Card does come at a small and reasonable cost of £6.00.
I think this is particularly useful for those with invisible illnesses, equally it is still extremely helpful for those that are “obviously” disabled i.e. those in a wheelchair or using other mobility aids. Remember though the CEA card entitles you to a complimentary ticket but nothing else. Although it can help prove that you need help from the cinema or help with accessibility/reasonable adjustments they have the same duty to help meet your needs whether you have a CEA card or not.
Do bare in mind that your complimentary ticket is provided on the basis that the person who accompanies you is able to assist you where you may need help for example:
- To help you buy refreshments
- To help you in finding your seats/moving around the cinema
- To help you in getting to the toilets and/or to help you with your toilet needs
- To provide help in leaving the cinema in the event of an emergency
Am I Eligible for a CEA Card?
You are eligible for a CEA Card if you are 8 years old or above and in receipt of any of the following:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Blind Persons Registration
Please note if you are under 16 you will need a parent or guardian to apply on your behalf but still in the name of the disabled person.
How Do I Apply for a CEA Card?
There are two ways you can apply for a CEA Card:
- By Post
The process is exactly the same and it is just personal preference. I personally applied online and found it simple enough to do so even using my phone.
You are required to fill in a short form to confirm if you are applying for a new card or a renewal etc. It asks if you are the person the card is intended for or if you are applying on behalf of someone else etc.
The next step (if applying online) it will ask if you want to upload your photo and evidence online (which is super easy to do by the way!) or if you wish to post it in. Note if you are going to send them a photo and your evidence make sure to send a copy as they cannot guarantee it’ll get back to you.
The final part of the process is payment which can also be completed online if you chose. The CEA card comes at a reasonable price of £6.00.
Once you have filled in your application it is just a case of waiting for them to confirm it all. Personally I received my card around 7 days later.
Your card will be valid for 1 year from date of purchase. It is advised to renew/reapply for a new card around a month before it expires to ensure you don’t miss out on the latest cinematic releases.
You can find the online or postal application form here.
When you card arrives it will look like mine above. Where I have blurred the photo is a barcode with a sequence of numbers. I’m not sure about other cinemas however, I can pre-book my tickets online with the Vue cinema. All you need to do is the usual steps you would do to buy and pre-book tickets online. When you get to the check there is a discount code or cea card bar where you can input the sequence of numbers to complete your purchase online.
If you use other cinemas then be sure to share in the comments if you are able to do it online with them too – Let’s try to help each other out!
Which Cinemas can I use a CEA Card at?
90% of UK cinemas are a part of the CEA Card scheme. Below lists all the UK cinema chains currently a part of the card scheme:
- Cineworld Cinemas
- Curzon Cinemas
- Empire Cinemas
- Everyman Cinemas
- Hollywood Cinemas
- Merlin Cinemas
- Movie House Cinemas
- Odeon Cinemas
- Parkway Cinema
- Picturehouse Cinemas
- Reel Cinemas
- Savoy Cinemas
- Scott Cinemas
- Showcase Cinemas
- SSCV Cinemas
- Vue Entertainment
- West Coast Cinemas
- WTW Cinemas
The ceacard.co.uk website also has a super handy tool to help you find which of your local cinemas accept a CEA card. You can find their postcode search tool on their website or linked here. All you need to do is input your post code or the post code of the area in which you are wanting to see a film and it will let you know if they are apart of the CEA card scheme.
I think this scheme is amazing as it makes going to the cinema far more accessible to many disabled people. It also really helps in terms of cost because let’s be honest being disabled is e x p e n s i v e!
I hope this benefits some of you and you are able to access the cinema a little easier! Be sure to share this post to help other disabled people access the cinema easier. Sadly no one hands you a textbook when living with a disability. So, it is up to us to find these sorts of resources and share them with others too.
As always I hope you are all having as good as day as possible!