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November 20, 2018

A big thank you from the Purple team

Wow. Amazing. Extraordinary. A few of the comments from the Purple Tuesday team as Purple Tuesday unfolded this time last week. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to see so much activity – right across the UK – by so many people and their organisations (we had over 700 organisations register an interest, which attracted so much national and local media. The day brought together organisations, their staff, disabled people and their representative organisations in a common cause to increase the accessibility of the retail sector. This benefits disabled people (as customers and potential employees) and retailers accessing the Purple Pound.

The day was achieved through relentless hard work, determination, the involvement of committed partners and a little bit of luck and fortune along the way – the day sneaked in just before the Brexit deal was announced!

There are so many people to thank:

  • All of you for the innovation, creativity and enthusiasm in turning your store, outlet, shopping centre and high street purple. The winners of the best social media picture, video and comment to follow shortly
  • The Planning Group for their leadership, ownership and guidance throughout this year’s Purple Tuesday. And for gently bringing me back down to earth when some of my idea’s were stratospheric (and unrealistic!)
  • Sam Sen, the Retail Sector Champion for her role in ensuring the day was aligned to the needs and aspirations of the retail sector
  • Sarah Newton, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work for her relentless support and assistance in promoting Purple Tuesday as an independent initiative
  • Matt Willatt for his design work of all resources and iconic image for the Piccadilly Lights
  • Landsec for making Piccadilly Lights happen
  • Antidote for their PR and comms advice and their work with Purple to secure such a wide range of national media. A special mention to Aimen Chouchane, who helped Purple initially to launch Purple Tuesday and contributed significantly to the original concept and materials
  • We Are Fred for producing the training video, re-launching the purpletuesday.org.uk website and following me around all day on Purple Tuesday shooting film and taking photographs

The biggest thank you however is to all of you. We have always said Purple Tuesday is about bringing people together to raise awareness and instigate long term change, and as I looked through the social media, emails and messages coming through, it felt like that had been achieved.

I say the start of course because Purple Tuesday was never about one day. The biggest thank you of all will be to all of you for the delivering of your commitments over the next 12 months, and for pledging your support in making next years Purple Tuesday even bigger and better!

Mike Adams OBE

CEO, Purple

November 12, 2018

A final call to action from Mike Adams

When I was growing up my disabled peers instilled in me the adage: ‘Nothing about us, without us’. In other words, issues of disability should centrally involve the lived experience of disabled people and their representative organisations.

Tomorrow, Purple Tuesday will model a modern-day version of that adage. If retail is to improve the accessibility of the shopping experience for disabled people and their families then awareness needs to be raised and the right commitments undertaken. This should be done alongside disabled people. And this is exactly what we are doing.

Purple Tuesday is not simply about one day. It is what follows over the next 364 days and beyond.

Therefore, it felt fitting to use my final blog to showcase the voices of other disabled people and their representative organisations.

Claire Bickley from Sight Loss Councils says:

“Shopping is an experience everyone should enjoy.  As blind and partially sighted people we want retailers to recognise us as valued customers and making some small changes could go a huge way in improving our experience.  On Purple Tuesday we will be visiting retailers at the Bullring in Birmingham to ask them about how they support people with sight loss who visit their shops.

We hope as many shops get on board with Purple Tuesday and recognise the power of the purple pound!”

Purple Tuesday has really shone a light on the issue of hidden disability and so we are delighted to be supported by Kathryn Albany-Ward, CEO of Colour Blind Awareness. Kathryn highlights the sensitivities and practicalities of even the colour purple:

“Despite the irony that most of the 3 million people in the UK that Colour Blind Awareness represents have never experienced the colour purple, we are fully behind Purple Tuesday. It’s a fantastic opportunity to highlight to retailers and landlords how they can generate additional turnover just by taking some simple steps. Here’s an opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives by ensuring an inclusive retail experience everyone, including those with hidden disabilities such as with colour blindness. In these competitive and uncertain times can you afford not to? Today isn’t about jumping onto bandwagons, so make the most of it.”

Pan-disability organisations are also showing their fill support. Clare Grey, Disability Advocacy Advisor at the Shaw Trust commented:

“Shaw Trust welcomes the opportunity to be involved and to support this vitally important initiative. As a charity that works extensively in this arena, we believe that it is intrinsic to our mission and values as an organisation that we do everything possible to achieve equality of opportunity and improve accessibility for all. We are sure the day will be a roaring success and we hope that this event helps to drive the change that makes accessibility a reality on Britain’s high streets.”  

Organisations that provide a vital transport link to and from shopping destinations are also fully supportive of Purple Tuesday. David Bermingham, CEO of Accessible Transport has said:

‘We, the Accessible Transport Group (ATG) are a charity dedicated to supporting people across the West Midlands who have mobility restrictions, whether physical, mental or sensory. We are promoting our Ring and Ride service, igo Community bus routes and Birmingham Shopmobility to help make this event a success and raise awareness of accessibility’. David Bermingham Chief Executive.

AccessAble (formerly Disabled Go) have recently published a survey involving 845 disabled people right across the UK, about the quality of information provided by venues, only 14% of recipients felt they received the quality of information required with 77% of respondents having left a venue after finding accessibility wasn’t what they expected. A challenge but straightforward to make a significant difference. Barry Stevenson, Chair of AccessAble commented:

“We fully support Purple Tuesday and hope it will raise awareness of the barriers disabled people and carers face. Our recent survey has shown the overwhelming need for better accessibility information to enable people to find the places that are right for them. We hope that this need for information is viewed alongside staff training, physical access improvements and inclusive employment practices to create a more inclusive shopping experience for all.”

Tomorrow is the big day. Let’s work together to shine a light on accessibility and the importance of making the shopping experience inclusive for all.

November 5, 2018

Blog: Purple cakes and mannequins – What does Purple Tuesday look like?

When we first started out we thought, if we were lucky, we would have about 50 organisations involved in Purple Tuesday. As a new venture, we knew it was the right thing to do and knew it had potential but could only dream of having the platform of Sky News and the success of 100s of sign-ups. At just over 500 registrations of interest, we have well and truly surpassed even what was in our dreams!

I have spoken to many of you electronically and read your survey responses. The pledges and commitments you are making will ensure the impact will be so much more than just one day. And many more of you are not stopping at just one commitment but are putting in place a series of actions to transform the shopping experience for disabled people and their families. There are too many to list, but here are some of the commitments we have been told of:

  • Those who have previously introduced quiet hours are changing the day and time to make it a more prominent part of their customer offer
  • Organisations are refreshing their training offer (Hello, can I help you?) to include disability modules
  • Many of you are undertaking web accessibility audits
  • Organisations already surveying customers want to include accessibility questions going forward
  • Some of you are using the 13 November as the day to launch pre-planned initiatives which will improve the customer experience

As well as these commitments, I have also seen so many exciting plans for the day itself, from purple cakes being served in cafes to purple lighting, information stands hosted by local disability organisations to purple dressed mannequins – we even have a special edition purple version of a shopping centre logo in recognition of the day!

Alongside those directly involved in retail we have received a huge level of support from disabled people and their representative organisations. Our direct call to action to this important group is also going out so we will be able to share with you the direct experience of disabled people when they shop. We are also delighted so many local authorities, wider community groups and others are so keen to get involved in any way they can.

I, and the rest of Purple, are so excited about Purple Tuesday. Not just for the day itself, but for what it can achieve. We have always said this is not about one day. The 13thNovember is about raising awareness to instigate longer term change for the benefit of all.

Together, I truly believe we are and will create something really special.

Kristine Alderman

Corporate Services Manager, Purple

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