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Disabled shoppers bring shop accesibility into question for Purple Day

PUBLISHED: 13:05 13 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 13 November 2018

Margaret Oldham, of Lowestoft set out on the high street donning a two piece purple velvet outfit to talk to businesses about their store accessibility.

Margaret Oldham, of Lowestoft set out on the high street donning a two piece purple velvet outfit to talk to businesses about their store accessibility.

Archant

November 13 has marked the first Purple Tuesday - a day dedicated to raise awareness of shopping accessibility for those living with a disability.

Businesses in Lowestoft joined more than 700 others across the country in helping to make shopping easier for people with disabilities.

November 13 marked the first Purple Tuesday - a day dedicated to raise awareness of shopping accessibility for those living with a disability.

Margaret Oldham, of Lowestoft, set out on the high street donning a two piece purple velvet suit to discuss store accessibility.

The chair of Lowestoft Shopmobility and D.I.A.L said: “One in five people have got some sort of disability. We make up 14pc of the population.

“The main focus of this is asking shops, offices and public buildings to do just one thing each to make their property or service more accessible to people with disabilities.”

The former business owner said most stores are so built-up with stock it is near impossible to navigate.

Mrs Oldham said even when you do make it through the store “there is no turning space” for someone in a wheelchair.

But it is not just people with a physical disability who are unable to do their shopping, those with visual impairments, who are deaf or have hearing difficulties also find the task taxing.

People with learning difficulties can also struggle to go for a basic shop because of the store layout or lack of understanding from the sales assistants.

Mrs Oldham said: “Legally and under the equality act - it is our right to be able to go in to the store.”

“Do they ever realise how much they could help people with learning disabilities such as autism,” she said.

In the lead up to Christmas, Purple Tuesday brings to light the values and needs of those with disabilities ahead of the busiest shopping period.

The objective of Purple Tuesday is to see long-term commitment to improve the shopping experience for disabled customers.

According to organisers, the collective spending power is worth £249 billion to the UK economy - but the full potential isn’t being met because of the lack of store and online accessibility.

Companies such as Asda, Argos, Marcs and Spencers and Sainsburys have signed up for the initiative and have committed to a long-term improvement in online and instore accessibility.

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