Make it purple

Thursday, 8 November, 2018

Businesses are being encouraged to support an initiative called "Purple Tuesday" and provide accessible shopping.

The day, which will take place on Tuesday 13 November, has been established with the endorsement of the Department for Work and Pensions to recognise the importance and needs of disabled consumers.

Nearly one in every five people in the UK has a disability or impairment, but there are still real barriers that make it hard for disabled people to find work, spend money online and in store, and enjoy a drink or meal out.

The aim of Purple Tuesday is to inspire customer-facing businesses to make changes to improve the disabled customer experience over the long term. Launch partners include Argos, Barclays, Marks & Spencer, and Sainsbury’s. Every participant must make at least one long-term commitment aimed at improving the experience for their disabled customers going forward. The exact nature of the commitment is up to each individual business, depending on their specific resources and needs.

A local business embracing this initiative is Austen's Café on Lenten Street in Alton. Jonathan McDonald, the owner of the café, said: "We've had many comments about how nice it would be for a café to provide a quieter environment for people with anxiety or who are simply struggling to leave the house. To help we've set up 'The Anxiety Café' on alternate Monday mornings, to provide a safe place for people who suffer from anxiety which will help them build support networks and make new friends. We switch off the noisy machines, simplify the menu and provide access to support that may help people when they need it most. We've only just started this initiative, but it is proving to be very popular."

Councillor Graham Hill, EHDC's Assistant Portfolio Holder for Economic Development in Alton, said: "This is a fantastic idea, and I'm really pleased that a local business has got behind it. The organisations in Alton already provide excellent support for its residents, and this is an additional and much-needed service."

For more details, and to sign up, visit https://purpletuesday.org.uk/