West Devon Borough Council (WDBC) has announced it will join and support local retailers in marking Purple Tuesday, the UK's first accessible shopping day.

Tuesday 13 November 2018 will see WDBCofficially join the campaign to promote awareness about disabled customers, highlight the difficulties existing disabled shoppers face and measures that can be put in place to overcome them.

Since launching its initiative in August 2018, leading disability organisation Purple has secured more than 500 sign-ups from established and up-and-coming retail organisations keen to secure their share of the Purple Pound - worth an estimated £249 billion.

Endorsed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Purple Tuesday is a call-to-action for retail businesses to make shopping more accessible for disabled customers - not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's good for business. Securing custom from the estimated 12 million disabled people living in the UK makes commercial sense. Shoppers are also encouraged to show their support, by visiting their local shopping centre or high street on the day.

Exciting plans are underway amongst some of Britain's leading retailers - chain and independent, large and small - for celebrating the awareness day. Disabled street-theatre, dance and choir performances, and more, are set to be staged across the UK's favourite shopping hotspots. The initiative also enjoys support from Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, who will attend the purple lighting-up of key London landmarks on the day.

Beyond the 13th November awareness day, Purple will work alongside organisations to support implementation of commitments made, including customer service training and providing support to increase accessibility of websites and other online technology. Wider support includes physical access audits, improved signage and increasing the involvement of disabled mystery shoppers.

Cllr Tony Leech, West Devon Borough Council's Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "At our Council Offices at Kilworthy Park, we make sure that the premises are fully accessible to all and we have a number of facilities in place to help our local residents, as well as our tenants'.  These facilities include lifts, parking and toilets for those with disabilities, together with accessible doors, walkways and paving identification for the visually impaired.  For our customers with hearing impairment, we have hearing loops installed. 

"It's really important that the high street shops and local businesses support where ever possible accessibility for all customers.  We would encourage West Devon's' retailers to back this campaign next Tuesday and make our local shops and businesses as easy to use as possible for everyone, regardless of their disability."

Mike Adams, CEO, Purple, says: "We're delighted that West Devon Borough Council is supporting the Purple Tuesday campaign to promote better accessibility for disabled shoppers. This is a collaborative campaign that extends far beyond one day, and it's vital that retail organisations come together to make shopping more pleasurable and efficient for everyone."

Resources for organisations and individuals wishing to get involved with Purple Tuesday are available for download atpurpletuesday.org.uk.