It's Purple Tuesday

Blackpool Tower, Lytham Windmill and the Dome at the Marine Hall in Fleetwood will be lit up purple on Tuesday, November 12, as part of a series of events to encourage businesses to help change lives, by providing a positive customer experience to disabled people, as part of a national initiative to inspire change.

From releasing a community song and video - featuring local people with disabilities and local businesses – to lighting up Fylde Coast landmarks, the pioneering Access Fylde Coast project looks set to firmly put the Fylde Coast on the map for warmly welcoming people with physical, sensory, learning disabilities and mental health conditions.

The events are being held as part of Purple Tuesday, an annual, international-wide initiative; being held to raise awareness and address the key barriers preventing disabled consumers purchasing goods and services.

Fylde Coast Flying the Flag

For the first time the Fylde Coast looks set to be the first major centre outside of London making a big push for positive change to make Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde a positive and inclusive destination for all.

Other landmarks across the country will also be lit up Purple, including the Piccadilly Lights, which will feature in a video telling the Purple Tuesday story. 

The purple pound, the spending power of disabled people and their families, is worth £249 billion and is rising by an average of 14% per annum, yet it is estimated that less than 10% of businesses have a targeted plan to access this disability market. Purple Tuesday’s research shows that more than 80% of disabled people say businesses could do more to be accessible and encourage them to spend money.

Mike Adams OBE, chief executive of Purple, said: “Meeting the needs of disabled customers makes commercial sense for organisations of all sizes, from all sectors, but our message to organisations is: you don’t have to spend big budgets to make lasting change. That’s why we’re urging organisations to focus on improvements that go ‘beyond the front door’. Introducing staff training and improving website accessibility are low cost changes, but the difference to a company’s bottom line – as well as to a disabled consumer’s personal experience – can be significant.

“Purple Tuesday has more than doubled in size this year, with more than 2000 organisations from a variety of sectors making commitments to improve the customer experience for disabled people. These are long-term changes that will have a lasting impact for millions of customers – and improve the commercial opportunities for the organisations involved.”

The project, which was launched in April, has already helped more than 400 businesses across the Fylde Coast make their businesses more accessible through providing free access guides and more than 100 people now have a better understand of the issues faced by people with disabilities, thanks to the project’s disability awareness training.

“We are pleased to have been able to help so many businesses across the Fylde Coast to make small changes that don’t just make a massive difference to disabled people, but also see the business profit too.” says Alan Reid, CIO of Disability First, the Blackpool charity which has spearheaded the Access Fylde Coast project.

“For example, one shop owner spoke to the lady in her wheelchair, rather than the person with her. The lady came back and said she would purchase from the shop owner rather than her competitors – not because of price, but because she was the only one who addressed her directly and asked how she could help.

He adds: “It’s not rocket-science. Small changes, such as attitude, which is free, make your business more attractive to customers and through our free online training and access guides, we want to help as many businesses as possible make a difference.”