A Harrogate charity is asking businesses in the town if they are ready to welcome disabled visitors and residents?
In less than two months, tens of thousands of competitors and spectators are predicted to flock to Harrogate when it hosts the UCI World Cycling championships, including teams of disabled riders participating in the paracycling event which starts the nine-day tournament.
The Hornbeam Park-based charity has already completed accessibility audits for a number of local organisations, including Harrogate Town Football Club, and has recently been asked by the Majestic Hotel, which is hosting the para cycling teams, to assess its recently upgraded facilities.
Disability Action Yorkshire’s “Think Access” campaign – supported by Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council, MP Andrew Jones and Harrogate Chamber of Trade and organisations including Transdev – aims to make Harrogate a more accessible town for disabled people, which in turn will help boost the local economy.
Over the last few weeks the charity has been visiting town centre establishments asking them if their businesses are accessible. If the answer is yes, they are encouraging them to display a “We Think Access” in their shop window.
And, if the answer is no or are unsure about their accessibility, then the charity is there to offer expert advice.
Jackie Snape, Disability Action Yorkshire chief executive, said: “One of our major aspirations is for the Harrogate District to become fully inclusive, and we are prepared to conduct as many accessibility audits as it takes to make this happen.
“The focus of many local businesses is the forthcoming UCI cycling championships, and how they can make the most of this significant event.
“The collective spending power of disabled people – known as the ‘purple pound’ – is estimated to be worth about £249 billion a year to the UK economy, so it makes sense for businesses, in particular shops, bars and restaurants, to become accessible to all.”
Businesses wishing to request either an accessibility audit, or a “We Think Access” window sticker, should call Disability Action Yorkshire on 01423 855 410, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the charity’s website at www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk