Disability Wales

The national association of disabled people's organisations

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Streets Ahead


Disability Wales carried out a survey of our members in Nov 2008 to find out what issues concerned them most in the broad area of access, and barriers to access to the high street emerged as the number one priority issue.

Streets Ahead Campaign finds that disabled people are still on the pavement struggling to get into and around high street shops, services and businesses.

Disability Wales’ campaign Streets Ahead was launched in November 2008 to highlight disabled people’s access barriers to high street shops and services throughout Wales. With the focus of the campaign in Haverfordwest and the involvement of local disabled people the report identifies the range of barriers that they encountered during the ‘mystery’ shopper exercise as well as what can be done to remove them to create an inclusive shopping experience for disabled people.

Mystery shopping and additional case study research findings indicate that the main barriers continue to be with physical access, staff attitudes and communication. These include:

  • Physical barriers – access into shop premises and its interior such as lack of level access or ramps into shop premises, narrow width of doorway, wrong type of door entry and interior clutter;
  • Attitudinal barriers – staff treatment of disabled customers varied sometimes even within the same store. Attitudes experienced included being unhelpful, insensitive and acting inappropriately.
  • Communication and information barriers – including the complexity of verbal language used to conduct transactions and provide services, types of signs used to convey information and their use of inappropriate font size, colour of text and background.

Despite the negative experiences, good practice was identified and indications that some high street shops and services have embraced their legal requirements and offer a service to disabled customers that affirm their rights as equal citizens.

Using the campaign findings Disability Wales makes several recommendations for change including who we believe should be responsible for taking these forward and ensuring that the law is implemented…full report