Although situations are beginning to improve and shops are beginning to adapt their facilities, the high street can still be a daunting and frustrating place for disabled people. Whether this is the access to changing rooms or the attitudes of staff working in the shops, there are a number of factors which can prove problematic for those with disabilities.
In December, a survey found that more than 8 out of 10 disabled people or carers had encountered problems with the accessibility of a high street store. This included feeling unsafe when using a chip and pin machine or finding shop assistants unhelpful.
While a large proportion of shops still do not provide accessibility information on their websites, there are a number of ways to overcome the obstacles, and a recent article from Age UK Mobility is really helpful for those who are unsure of what to expect when visiting the high street with a mobility impairment.
Many chip and pin machines are cordless or attached to an extendable cord, meaning that disabled customers can reach if sat in a wheelchair, and disabled changing rooms can be found in selected retailers. It’s also worth bearing in mind that garments purchased in a store can often be bought, tried on at home, and then returned to the shop for a refund if unsuitable.
Transport to the town centre can be tricky, but there are often bus services which can accommodate a wheelchair, and disabled parking spaces should be located in various locations near to the shops. Certain town centres are also able to provide mobility equipment for shoppers, meaning that those who do not own a powered wheelchair or scooter can borrow them.
However, online shopping could be an alternative to visiting the high street, with most retail outlets offering this service. Whether supermarkets deliver to the door, purchases are sent via mail or click and collect options are taken advantage of, there are numerous ways to avoid the high street if this option is preferred.
Featured image credit: shrinkin’violet