An accessibility expert based in East Yorkshire is urging businesses in the area to back a national initiative next month which will help them boost trade by doing more to help disabled customers.
Purple Tuesday – the UK’s first accessible shopping day – will take place across the country on Tuesday 13 November.
Endorsed by the government and by some of the biggest brands in the country, the campaign calls on businesses to support and promote Purple Tuesday before and on the day itself, and to take the opportunity to consider how they could do more to welcome disabled people.
Ian Streets, Managing Director of Anlaby-based About Access, said a key aim is to raise awareness of the Purple Pound – the collective spending power of disabled people and their companions which is worth £249 billion every year to the UK economy.
He said: “Disabled people don’t stay at home and don’t live in isolation. They have cars, they use public transport, go to shops, restaurants, leisure centres, hotels and more and they usually do that with companions, whether that’s an individual carer, a group of friends or a family group.
“That multiplies their spending power, and it should send a message that even if a store operator can’t quite grasp the ethical reasons for making their premises and services accessible, they might get there in the end by looking at the clear business benefits.
“I’d like to see businesses from physical shops in towns, cities and villages to online sellers operating internationally make the most of Purple Tuesday by doing something on the day to make things easier for disabled people, and by making a commitment to working towards an inclusive world.”
Purple Tuesday has been created and co-ordinated by the disability organisation Purple, which works to bring together disabled people and businesses. The day is backed by major retailers including Argos, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s.
Businesses are being encouraged to go purple for the day with window displays, posters, t-shirts, online activity and support for social media activity @purpletuesdayuk #PurpleTuesday
They are also suggesting using Purple Tuesday to launch longer-term projects such as regular “quiet hours”, improving the e-accessibility of websites and apps, providing information on hidden impairments and committing to employing more disabled people.
Ian launched About Access in 2006 and offers consultancy and accredited practical advice on disabled access for a wide range of businesses and public bodies. He sits on the Hull Access Improvement Group (HAIG) and has built up an international client base which, in the UK alone, includes The O2 Arena and Network Rail.
He said: “Our work is all about helping businesses and other organisations make their premises and services more accessible, and more often than not that starts with raising awareness of some of the features that present obstacles to disabled people.
“It is widely known that organisations which breach the terms of the Equality Act can be hit with fines, costs and damage to reputation. But Purple Tuesday highlights the other side of the coin – disabled customers will always spend their money in a business which can meet their needs rather than one that can’t.”
For more details about Purple Tuesday please visit https://purpletuesday.org.uk/
To find out more on About Access please visit http://www.aboutaccess.co.uk/