Tuesday, July 27, 2021

UK’s first ‘purple Tuesday’ to improve shopping for disabled

High street retailers are being urged to do more to help disabled shoppers – as campaigners launch “Purple T..

By admin , in England , at November 13, 2018

High street retailers are being urged to do more to help disabled shoppers – as campaigners launch "Purple Tuesday" to raise further awareness.

Chains such as Asda, M&S and Sainsbury's have already signed up to the initiative which wants to see disabled people receive a better shopping experience, whether that's online or on the high street.

Shops are being encouraged to introduce regular quiet hours for those with sensory issues, improve store way-finding, or introduce more inclusive marketing and product photography.

The government estimates the so-called Purple Pound – the spending power of the UK's disabled population – is around £250bn.

The concern is the lack of provisions for disabled shoppers means millions is being lost in sales.

It also wants all retailers to sign up to the governments Disability Confidence Scheme which supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to their workplace.

Image: Chief executive of charity Purple, Mike Adams

Chief executive of charity Purple, Mike Adams – who is a wheelchair user himself – is behind the accessible shopping day and says this is not only about improving physical barriers faced by disabled shoppers: "When I was Christmas shopping last year, we did a non-scientific exercise and we went in 27 shops in a shopping centre.

"In 23 of them either the front office staff either ignored me or only talked to my partner, and that was this unanticipated, unintentional fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, so the individual swerved the conversation altogether. We want staff to feel confident to come over and say 'Hello, can I help you?' and start that conversation."

The charity says 90% of businesses do not have a specific strategy to help disabled shoppers.

We went out with 18-year-old Millie-Rose Zoldan, a wheelchair user and ambassador for the charity Whizz Kidz.

Millie-Rose Zoldan
Image: Ms Zoldan says there is a huge range of challenges for disabled shoppers
Millie-Rose Zoldan
Image: Millie-Rose Zoldan says her shopping experience is unlike anyone else's

She says there is a huge range of challenges those without disabilities do not see.

"Going up into the shop there's often a step, the disabled changing room is often full used as a storage room and tills which are the height for a normal standing person are way too high for me."

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Sarah Newton, says it is in a business' interest to invest in enhanced disability facilities: "Today is all about letting businesses know that they are actually potentially missing out on a lot of money from a lot of customers who would like to use their businesses, so it's not only the right thing to make their businesses more accessible but it makes good business sense."

Samantha Senn from RevoLatest, which represents disability issues in the retail sector, says Purple Tuesday is not only about helping those with physical disabilities.

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Samantha Senn from RevoLatest
Image: Samantha Senn from RevoLatest

"Four out of five disabilities are hidden, and that is key. We've worked on guiding businesses on what they can do to make customers feel as comfortable as possible. Customer service is key, staff having the confidence to approach people, handle different kinds of situations and being proactive in making people feel welcome."

Organisers hope this first Purple Tuesday will see further retailers sign up and create lasting change for a sector which makes up nearly one fifth of the working-age population.

Original Article


Sky News



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