Making a business inclusive for Disabled People. Why, how and whose responsibility is it?

This guest blog comes from Michael Grimmett, Disability Inclusion Speaker at Comments Disabled.

Is your business missing out on the Purple Pound? What is the Purple Pound I hear you say?

To save you from googling, the Purple Pound is the spending power of disabled people in the UK, and it is worth a staggering £274 billion person per year.

By taking into consideration accessibility and inclusion your business can support disabled customers, make them feel welcome and valued within your business.

How do I know this? I’m a proud disabled person myself, who has Cerebral Palsy and is a wheelchair user. I went viral in October 2021, when I ate a pizza in the rain outside a restaurant. Within one week the video achieved over one million views on social media and I went on the media circuit to explain the value of including disabled people. As a result of this, I formed a disability speaking / training business.

So even aside from the ethical arguments, why should your business meet the needs of disabled people?

Because your business has a duty to comply with relevant legislation. The Equality Act 2010 gives disabled people rights of access to goods, services, and facilities. Disabled people shouldn’t be treated less favourably than anybody else. Businesses are required to make reasonable adjustments to their service provision and the physical features of their premises. Such adjustments should be anticipatory, meaning businesses shouldn’t wait to be asked. 

In my experience, it is often worth adopting a ‘compliance-plus’ approach to reach out to this market segment.  In doing so, the business will also be better meeting the requirements of other market segments, e.g. older people or those with illnesses or allergies.

One in five UK consumers have a disability. This equates to roughly 21% of the British population, please remember that not all disabilities are visible, most are not. Studies have shown that 85% of disabled people and their friends/families have turned their back on a business due to inaccessibility or poor customer service.

In addition, 73% of disabled consumers experience barriers on more than a quarter of websites they visit. On top of this, it has been found that UK businesses lose approximately £2 billion per month by ignoring the needs of disabled people.

I assist businesses with ‘easy wins’. This can be simply getting to know the local area, following the customer journey (example below) and helping businesses to get ‘all their ducks in a row.’

As a Disability Inclusion Specialist with personal  experience I can support businesses to look at disability through my eyes. I’m a well-rounded practitioner with professional, academic, and real-life experience of disability, who can balance inclusive strategic development with the practical implementation of measures that deliver change. I’ve successfully delivered training and speeches to businesses in varying sectors including, Prezzo, Local Space, Highfield International, Peter Symonds College, Visit Pembrokeshire, Historic England, I-talk, Festivals and many more. I’ve achieved 99% positive feedback from over 200 feedback forms.

Rather than focusing on people’s health conditions or impairments, I set about highlighting the barriers that exclude disabled people from fully participating in our society, while understanding the nervousness many of us feel when talking about disability. I share personal insight and practical guidance about how businesses can help make necessary change for the better, removing barriers so disabled people are fully included within mainstream activities both personally and professionally.

To find out more or make contact check out Michael’s  LinkedIn and Twitter, or email coming soon


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