During the festive season a trip to the high street to drink in the Christmas atmosphere - and of course do some gift shopping - is one of the things that makes Christmas special. But we’ve found that many disabled people are being denied this simple pleasure.
We did a survey which found that more than eight out of 10 disabled people and carers had experienced problems with the accessibility of major high street stores and over half had been subjected to negative or unwelcoming treatment from shop staff.
Our favourite high street stores are effectively off limits to disabled people due to poor accessibility, negative attitudes and a lack of information.
Could it be that department stores and high street chains are happy with the way things are? Maybe they would prefer it if disabled people did all their shopping with them online, so they don’t have to spend any money on accessibility. Why else would they have so little information about the accessibility of their stores online?
I work for a charity called Vitalise. This week, as the world celebrates International Day of Disabled Persons, we think shops everywhere should be doing much more to make themselves more welcoming to disabled shoppers. So we’ve launched a campaign called #AccessNow and we’d like to appeal to your readers to join us in our mission to make the UK more accessible for everyone.
To support #AccessNow or to find out more about Vitalise, visit www.vitalise.org.uk