Purple Tuesday highlights the needs of disabled shoppers

Tuesday 13 November was the UKs first “Purple Tuesday”, an initiative to spread awareness of the importance and needs of disabled consumers.

By Alice Nordevik

Holly Scott-Gardner was born with the rare eye condition Lebers Congenital amaurosis, which makes her almost completely blind with only light perception remaining. This affects her entire life, including going shopping.

“I travel using a guide dog, read braille and access technology using a screenreader. This means I rely heavily on accessible information as I can’t read print,” she said.

This Purple Tuesday was the UKs first ever accessible shopping day, with over 650 organisations and companies involved. The campaign, founded by the disability organisation Purple, aims to highlight the experience of disabled costumers on the high street.

Companies such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Asda were among the big names involved in the campaign.

A spokesperson for Purple said:

“Purple Tuesday is all about instigating change to make UK high streets and shopping centres more inclusive. All supporting organisations are asked to make at least one commitment to change or introduce an initiative which will improve the accessibility of their services.”

Several people turned to Twitter to write about the campaign, sharing experiences that Holly-Scott Gardner recognised.

“The more people who are aware the more likely we are to see a change regarding how businesses treat disabled people,” she said.

However, the goal with Purple Tuesday is not only to raise awareness for one day. Mike Adams, CEO of Purple, said in a pressrelease that the campaigns “awareness drive, and steps taken by retail partners, must continue over the next 365 days and beyond”.

Holly Scott-Gardner emphasized the importance of this as well.

“It is vital that businesses recognise that we need access every day, but as activists we can use the momentum of today to start conversations and contribute to a movement that has captured the attention of the media,” she said.

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