LETTER: Wheelchair users shouldn’t be limited

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Following reports of wheelchair users finding it increasingly difficult to manoeuvre crammed shop aisles during the festive period, on behalf of the British Polio Fellowship I’m asking retailers to resist the temptation to ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’, and consider the accessibility of their shops over Christmas this year.

Christmas shopping can prove challenging for anyone, but battling crowds and seasonal stock-filled aisles whilst in a wheelchair brings a new level of difficulty.

It might be tempting for retailers to showcase product displays and take advantage of every centimetre of the space they have, however I urge them to consider the difficulty wheelchair users have shopping in those conditions.

Members of The British Polio Fellowship have expressed their concerns, particularly regarding ‘maze-like’ situations in which they’re unable to turn round inside the shop to leave.

People may argue that wheelchair users are now lucky enough to have the option of doing their shopping online, however this doesn’t consider the extra costs in postage and packaging, and that they could miss out on gathering hidden gems and personal touches, found by doing Christmas shopping in person.

I would also remind retailers of the potential of the Purple Pound. If you’re able to keep your shop accessible over the Christmas period, you’re likely to do much better out of it than installing that extra product display!

If you are interested in getting involved or need our support please call us on 0800 043 1935, email at info@britishpolio.org.uk or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk

Ted Hill MBE

CEO, The British Polio Fellowship

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