A Harrogate charity is calling on local shops to put SANTA first this Christmas.
As part of its ongoing Think Access campaign, Disability Access Yorkshire has issued timely advise on how traders can make their businesses more accessible at this busy time of year for those with disabilities.
Disability Action Yorkshire hopes its SANTA initiative will achieve accessibility for disabled people in the Harrogate area, but also improve business for local shops during the Christmas time and beyond.
The Purple Pound, the spending power of disabled households is estimated to be over £249 billion annually, and each month businesses lose approximately £2 billion by ignoring the needs of disabled people!
Spearheaded by the charity’s new Think Access Co-Ordinator Josh McCormack, SANTA is an acronym for Signs, Access, Noise, Time and Ambience.
S= Signs: Ensure all sings are clear and easy to read for all customers
A= Access: All stock should be accessible for customers with mobility issues. If not possible, good customer service can still go a long way
N= Noise: Christmas music in the store should be kept at a reasonable volume as loud music may interfere with hearing aids or distress people who have an aversion to noisy places
T= Time: Give people patience when completing transactions, as everyone works at a different pace
A= Ambience: Flashing Christmas lights are great but should be set to a slow charge setting as quick flashing images can cause some people to have seizures.
Josh said: “Our Think SANTA initiative is all about asking town traders to make their shops and businesses more accessible for disabled people during this festive period.
“The SANTA recommendations are cost neutral and, if implemented, could lead to real financial benefits for business who take them on board.
“And borrowing a line from a well-known animal charity, accessibility isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for all times of the year.
“Whilst the Harrogate District is a great place to live not all of it is accessible to everyone. Although we have come a long way in improving access for disabled people there is still a long way to go.”