Today is Purple Tuesday, a worldwide call to action to improve the customer experience for disabled people.
The potential of the purple pound is clear. Disabled people say they spend on average £163 on retail per month, despite facing many challenges and barriers when visiting shopping centres and high streets.
Mike Adams OBE, chief executive of Purple, the disability organisation behind Purple Tuesday, said, “While many UK businesses and organisations are stepping up to the mark and making the changes needed to improve disabled customers’ experiences, far too many are not.
“This is a huge mistake, not least because by turning their backs on disabled shoppers, they are losing out on millions of pounds of revenue every year.
“It should simply not be the case that one in two disabled people struggle to make purchases online or in person. Small changes can make a big difference to the customer experience; we want to help organisations have the confidence to improve their services for disabled people.”
Representatives from Bedford – an Inclusive Town will be in the Harpur Centre throughout today, encouraging visitors to share their ideas for making the town centre more accessible for all.
Some of the service users at Living It Up – a charity working with adults with learning disabilities – shared their suggestions for how to improve accessibility in Bedford:
- Improved wheelchair accessibility; businesses should get advice from disabled people when looking at accessibility or designing the layout of their shops
- More disabled toilets including changing room facilities
- Staff should be trained on how to interact with people with disabilities.
- Shops should ensure people who need it have time to interact with staff and purchase items
- Shops and cafes should have facilities where people can go if they feel unwell, anxious or need somewhere to administer medication
- Times when town is quieter
- More disabled parking spaces
- Mystery shoppers with a disability who have the opportunity to feed back issues
- More shops and cafes should offer discounts to people with disabilities – often only offered to students or older people
You can make your voice heard by completing the Bedford – An Inclusive Town’s online survey.