What is a CEA card?

If you’re a fan of film then we think the perfect companion to our Carers ID Card is a CEA card.

CEA, which stands for “Cinema Exhibitors' Association” is a card scheme that provides free cinema tickets to carers accompanying a person with a disability to the movies.

The scheme is operated by the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, a trade body representing cinema operators in the UK and they have been running since 2004.

In this instance, the cardholder is usually the person with a disability. However, the card can be used by the carer to obtain a free ticket when accompanying the cardholder to the cinema. The card is intended to help make it easier and more affordable for people with disabilities and their carers to enjoy a trip to the cinema.

To be eligible for a CEA card, the person with a disability must have a permanent and substantial disability that means they cannot go to the cinema without the help of another person. The CEA card is available to any individual with a disability and their carers across the UK. The card is issued by the local cinema, which will require proof of the disability, and it is usually valid for three years.

Why going to the cinema is good for your wellbeing

Taking a loved or someone your care for to the cinema can be extremely good for wellbeing for a number of reasons. These reasons include:

  • Social connection: Going to the cinema with friends or family can provide a sense of social connection and belonging.
  • Entertainment and escapism: Watching a movie can be a form of entertainment and escapism, providing a distraction from daily stressors and allowing the viewer to immerse themselves in the story.
  • Emotional release: Movies can evoke a range of emotions such as joy, laughter, sadness and empathy. Some research suggest that expressing emotions through art can have a therapeutic effect and help in the regulation of emotions.
  • Stimulation of imagination: Cinema, as an art form, can help to stimulate the imagination and creativity, which can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.
  • Relaxation: The dark and quiet environment of a cinema can help to promote relaxation, which can be beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety.

CEA card eligibility

It's worth noting that the benefits of cinema and the art of storytelling can vary greatly depending on the individual, and it's not a substitute for professional medical or therapeutic care. But overall, the cinema can be a fun and enjoyable way to promote mental and emotional well-being. Eligibility criteria may be updated from time to time though, at time of typing, the cardholder should be in receipt of:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Adult / Child Disability Payment (ADP / CDP in Scotland)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

Or hold:

  • Severely Sight Impaired Registration (formerly Registered Blind)
  • Sight Impaired Registration (formerly Partially Sighted)

If you’re eligible for a CEA card UK then we recommend you apply for one! Find out more here

Some frequently asked questions

What do you get?
If you, as the card holder, required assistance to go to the cinema then the person assisting you is entitled to one free ticket. To get the free ticket you will need to purchase a full price ticket for yourself. The ticket has to be for the same film and at the same cinema and at the same time. Assistance is classifieds as someone you need to; help you move around the cinema, helping you leave the cinema in the event of an emergency, accompanying and/or helping you use the cinema's toilets and helping you buy refreshments.

Which cinemas accept the card?
The card is accepted in approximated 90% of cinemas in the UK. You can visit the CEA Card website for a full list of participating cinemas. Even cinemas that don’t accept the card need to make reasonable adjustments and safeguards so that you’re able to attend a showing.

How much is the cards and when does it expire?
As of typing, a CEA card costs £6 and will take around 5 working days to get to you through the post. The card is valid for 12 months from the date you purchase it. The expiry date is displayed on the card. When the card has expired then you can simply apply for a new one.

CEA applications
To apply for a CEA Card head to their website and complate the CEA application form. You can pay for your card online or by post. Questions on the aplpication for are marked with a star are required.

CEA card renewal
The CEA card renewal or expiry date is displayed on yur CEA card. When the card has expired then you can simply apply for a new one.

Whose details appear on the card?
The details of the person with a disability will appear on the card and not the person that cares or assists them. If you are the person applying for the card then the card will have your name and photo printed on it. What this means is that you, as the card holder, can have a variety of people (eg. a parent, family member, friend or care worker etc) accompanying you to the cinema that will get a free ticket.

Can I apply on behalf of someone I care for?
Yes. If the person with the disability is unable to apply directly then you can apply on their behalf. However, it is important that you have their full authority to apply for a card on their behalf. You should also have explicit consent to supply their proof of eligibility.

What's the difference between a CEA card and a Carers ID Card?
The main difference between a CEA card and a Carer ID card is that the CEA card enables, the person that cares for a person living with a disability, free entry to watch a film at the cinema. The person that lives with the disability is the card holder. A Carers ID Card allows people to prove that they care for someone and are not paid to do this (ie unpaid carers). In this instance the carer is the card holder..

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