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Pushing our vision of inclusivity – Direct Access’ global expansion continues to lead with accessibility for European retail

Direct Access Consultancy has been a proud voice for equal opportunity since our establishment 15 years ago. Our collaboration with the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) is paving the way for accessibility in the retail industry. We believe that working towards inclusive retail is central to maximising the quality of life of disabled people and we are thrilled to collaborate with establishments that allow us to progress towards our vision of inclusivity on a global scale.

In pursuing our goal for inclusive services, Direct Access will be part of the Experience UK in Barcelona, allowing our expertise to reach companies in leisure. As our consultants are members of the National Register of Access Consultants, we can provide thorough access audits of retail sites to ensure that they meet the suitable standards that enable disabled people to be safe and to feel welcomed. We have worked previously with many shopping facilities providing access audits such as for John Lewis, Asda, Subway, Nandos and McArthur Glen Cheshire Oaks – Europe’s largest outlet village. We have also worked alongside Architects on accessibility appraisals for the Victoria Square redevelopment, working to ensure that opportunities were maximised for disabled people.

Whilst shopping may be an activity that is easily taken for granted, the experience can be daunting for people who have a disability. It is vital that the retail sector undertake every effort to ensure that their shopping facilities – whether in-store or online – are approachable by customers of all health conditions and capabilities. Are disabled people able to navigate, communicate and access the suitable facilities around the store? 

Our surveyors can fully evaluate retail premises via accessibility audits to ensure that every suitable provision for disabled access is in place. The unique feature of our company is our staff. Consultants are equipped not only with a trained eye but also first hand experience – every member of our team has a disability.  We offer detailed expertise regarding everything from visual layout to enabling equipment, such as induction loops at counters for customers with hearing impairments. Through advice that is practical and professional, consultants navigate physical obstacles to ensure access for all.

By ignoring disabled customers, retailers are at risk of losing access to billions – the spending power of disabled shoppers is estimated to be £249 billion in the UK alone. This is known as the Purple Pound. Money, however, should be a secondary cause for ensuring accessibility. Our company recognises that everyone should be able to enjoy recreation and we feel great pride in contributing to the progression of equality for all.

Supporting equality enables people to reflect the progression of our society into a world enriched with kindness. We feel it is our duty to persevere towards equal opportunities for enjoyment in leisure and to strive for an environment where all people are treated with dignity and respect, no matter the challenges they may face in life.

To push our message of inclusivity further, we will be shortly be attending conferences and engaging with shopping centres in Barcelona. Direct Access will also be on the Experience UK stand at ICSC Barcelona, on the 10-11th of April. We hope to see you there.

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