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    A final call to action from Mike Adams

    November 12, 2018

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.

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