Folksy Ltd

Accessible retailers

(Ronald Koorm) #1

An audit recently was published on high street retailer accessibility for disabled people. Here is a link to the news item:

It comes as no surprise to me that most retailers, stores and traders out there are basically not complying with the law, and not making their premises reasonably accessible in accordance with The Equality Act 2010, and associated regulations.
There are some really good shops, stores, retailers who do try very hard to comply, but nowhere near enough.
This problem extends to lack of training staff and managers, and not having proper and sensible policies in place, and assuming they know it all.

This has wider implications, and organisers of craft fairs, and in some cases, those that allow premises for such events to be used, may have a legal duty to ensure the event is accessible for disabled people.

The craft fair organisers should start by asking questions of the owner or landlord of the venue before they book it, about the building or site and facilities.
Plenty of general guidance on the EHRC website, but does not specifically single out craft-fairs, even though they still have to legally comply. Ideally the sites need to be audited, but no one wants to seem to pay for that. Local authorities who let out premises, and landlords, could do more to have these things checked before issuing licences or rental agreements. However, the event organisers are vulnerable to accessibility claims.

So, if you are an event organiser/ craft fair organiser, (even with many years experience), please do seek guidance on this matter, before you have a claim made against you. That could have a serious knock-on effect on the sellers who use the site.

(Eileens Craft Studio) #2

Doesn’t surprise me as we went into one shop the other week a sports shop where it wasn’t made clear we could use the lift it said authorized staff use only and the shop was upstairs.

In the end we used it as we needed sports equipment for a disabled sports person. Once out of the lift her wheelchair couldn’t get down must of the aisles and to be honest it was a fire hazard as well. We have reported the shop.

We have a local shop on our estate where often we find she can’t get to the back of the shop to the post office as the Aisles are blocked for a wheelchair user.

(Ronald Koorm) #3

Eileen, you did well to report the shop. If more people were proactive and complained, perhaps there would be improvements. A post office also, should know better, and the manager should be made aware of the width restriction to aisles.
I am not saying that smaller shops need to spend loads of money, or completely change the character of the shop to make it accessible. Many restaurants and cafes are equally as bad in my experience, in not being inclusive.
I might have mentioned before, a well known cafe chain opened a new shop locally some time ago, and stored all their spare tables and chairs in the wheelchair-accessible toilet ! Again, lack of staff and management training.

(Sams Gemstone Jewellery) #4

It wasn’t Sports Direct by any chance was it Eileen ??? We have a big one near us and unless you are a size 6, you have to sidle between the racks and lots of the stuff is so high up that unless you are over 6ft and stand on tip toes you can’t reach it and there is so much stuff packed in you’d need a search party if you lost a toddler !!!

(Eileens Craft Studio) #5

Yes it was