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Thursday, 1 October 2020


Charity urges businesses coming out of lockdown to consider disabled people

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A leading Harrogate charity is urging businesses coming out of lockdown to consider the needs of disabled people in their pre-opening preparations.

For those opening their doors from today – and in two weeks’ time – Disability Action Yorkshire has published guidance on how to achieve ‘safe shopping’ for those with accessibility issues.

Additionally, it is also urging disabled people to get in touch if they feel there is anything else that businesses could do.

The new guidance, from Disability Action Yorkshire, is:

  • Make hand sanitiser and/or handwashing stations accessible to everyone, including wheelchair users
  • Widening aisles in shops to ensure people can pass by at a safe distance is a great idea – please keep them wide and uncluttered all the time! But if this means that you are stacking goods higher in order to make that space, remember the impact this can have on disabled people
  • We understand the ‘one person’ rule is important to ensure the minimum number of people in a shop at any time, but some disabled people need a companion with them for a variety of reasons. Please allow some discretion to enable disabled people to shop safely
  • If you are likely to have long queues outside your premises, consider supplying chairs at intervals. We know that this will mean extra cleaning, but some people just can’t stand for long periods of time
  • Please make sure your new signage is clear, easy to read and placed at a height that means everyone can see it, including wheelchair users
  • Not every disability is visible, people with a visual impairment may not know when a queue has moved on, people with a hearing impairment won’t be able to lip read if you are wearing a mask, and not everyone with a mobility problem is a wheelchair user. Patience and kindness aren’t going to cost your business anything, but are going to make a massive difference


Jackie Snape, charity Chief Executive, said:

“As we gently ease through lockdown many businesses, shops and hospitality venues are thinking about making the necessary adjustments to make their premises, routes and spaces as safe for as many people as possible.

“We are asking that, when making those vital plans, you consider disabled customers. ‘Shop local’ is a message we hear a lot and we want to ensure that when disabled people cone into town they can do so in comfort and safety.

“Whilst it’s not an exhaustive list, we hope businesses find these suggestions both useful and beneficial.

“We would also ask disabled people to get in touch with us if they have other suggestions, as we know there’s going to be a lot of things worrying people that we haven’t considered.”

In 2018, Disability Action Yorkshire launched its ‘Think Access’ campaign – supported by Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council Harrogate Chamber of Trade and organisations including Transdev and Harrogate Town – with the aim of make Harrogate a more accessible town for disabled people, which in turn will help boost the local economy.

The Purple Pound, the spending power of disabled households is estimated to be over £249 billion annually, and each month businesses lose approximately £2 billion by ignoring the needs of disabled people!

Further information about Disability Action Yorkshire, is available from its website, www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk

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