Hartlepool shopping centre backs national Purple Tuesday campaign for people with disabilities

Middleton Grange shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft.
Middleton Grange shopping centre manager Mark Rycraft.

Hartlepool shopping centre chiefs are backing the national Purple Tuesday campaign next week for people with disabilities.

Middleton Grange shopping centre is taking part in Purple Tuesday, the UK’s first-ever accessible shopping day to be held nationwide, to recognise the importance and needs of customers with disabilities.

Purple Tuesday launches on Tuesday, November 13, and is the first awareness initiative of its kind for shopping centres and retailers to acknowledge how they support people with both visible and non-visible disabilities, and how they can assist even further.

The campaign is not only helping to raise awareness, but to also reinforce the message that retailers are fully committed to ensuring an inclusive and enjoyable shopping experience for everyone, each and every day of the year.

It comes as Middleton Grange provides a host of facilities and additional services which assist disabled customers, including its Saturday morning quiet hour which runs from 9am until 10am where all music is turned off, enabling those who have autism, to enjoy a more peaceful shop.

The centre also has three dedicated Dementia Friendly champions who are on site to assist those who may need some extra support with 95% of all the centre team being ‘dementia friends’.

Mark Rycraft, Middleton Grange shopping centre manager, said: “Almost 20% of adults in the UK have a disability, 80% of which have an invisible or hidden impairment. This means that an incredible four out of five disabled customers may require some sort of support.

"For our visitors who experience the world differently, we want to ensure that at Middleton Grange we are providing the best customer service and accessibility we can to all members of the community.

“We are continually working with our retailers to look for ways to improve visitors’ experience as it’s hugely important to us that everyone feels comfortable. Making simple adjustments to our surroundings opens up new opportunities for those with ‘silent’ disabilities to feel much more comfortable when out in public spaces.

“We are honoured to be part of such an inspiring and thought-provoking campaign, which is really bringing together the community here at Middleton Grange."

Purple Tuesday has been launched by Purple, a disability organisation which believes that in bringing disabled people and businesses together, the conversation will shift from one of disadvantage and inequality to the positives of potential and value.

The aim of the campaign - and subsequently its legacy – is to increase awareness of the needs and contributions made by the disabled community and encourage sustainable changes in business practices that improve customer experience over the long-term.

Mike Adams OBE, CEO of Purple, said, “We’re delighted that Middleton Grange Shopping Centre 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.”