National disabled people’s charity Revitalise is throwing its weight behind Will Pike’s campaign to make society a better place for disabled people, as featured on today’s Good Morning Britain, since it clearly echoes the charity’s own research.
Revitalise has conducted independent research into the lack of high street accessibility for disabled people, as well as the shortcomings of non-disabled people’s attitudes to accessibility, which entirely supports Will Pike’s campaign and highlights the need for urgent change.
A recent Revitalise study of disabled people’s experiences of the high street found that over 8 out of 10 disabled people and carers (84%) had experienced problems with the accessibility of major high street stores and over half (55%) had been subjected to negative or unwelcoming treatment from shop staff.
The charity also found that nearly three quarters (74%) of the high street’s leading brands had absolutely no in-store accessibility info on their websites, causing Revitalise to conclude that high streets stores may be content to drag their feet when it comes to making accessible adaptations to their stores, as long as disabled people continue to shop with them online.
To further support Will Pike’s campaign, Revitalise has just released the findings of a study of non-disabled people’s attitudes to accessibility, which found that 6 out of 10 (57%) non-disabled people use disabled toilets and are showing no signs of stopping, with 1 in 5 (17%) saying they had “done it loads of times and really don’t see any harm in it”. The study also found that more than 1 in 10 (12%) non-disabled people use disabled parking spaces either sometimes or habitually.
In the light of its own research, Revitalise is adding its voice to Will Pike’s call for change and urging all leading high street retailers to pay more attention to accessibility in their stores and the information they provide online – in order to give disabled people and carers the same choice between in-store and online shopping as everyone else.
Just as importantly, the charity is urging non-disabled people to take on board the philosophy of Team GB in the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games, whose success is based on many small improvements adding up to one seismic change. If non-disabled individuals can simply make one or more small adjustment to their own attitudes and habits, Revitalise believes, they will be helping to create a more inclusive and equitable society for disabled people.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“Disabled people have every right to choose where and how they shop. It is plain wrong that the simple pleasure of a trip to the high street is being denied them. High street retailers need to polish up their act and stop marginalising disabled shoppers!”
“We’ve just witnessed the Paralympic Games and the words “Yes I can” are still echoing in our minds. But when it comes to making society more open and accessible for disabled people, those with the power to enforce change seem to have made very little progress.
“Disabled people face a huge number of barriers, both physical and it seems, in the attitude of non-disabled people to them. So we’re calling for a sea change in the way we treat disabled people in the UK.
“If non-disabled people can just make one or more small adjustment to their attitude towards disability, then we will be going a long way towards creating a better, more respectful world for disabled people and truly keeping the Paralympic legacy alive!”