WITH disabled people and their families spending power, or the ‘purple pound’ standing at £249 billion in 2017, it is vital that London businesses are ensuring their premises are accessible for all.
This year Transport for London announced that 25% of its tube stations are now step-free. With transport now leading the way, Cibes UK Sales and Marketing Director Gary Sullivan is calling on bars and restaurants in the capital to follow suit.
Gary Sullivan, Sales and Marketing Director for Cibes UK said: “London may be making a headway in its transport accessibility but a survey by the charity Scope found that 38% of disabled people feel that attitudes haven’t improved towards them since the London Paralympic games in 2012.
“When you look at the statistics they really do speak for themselves. Attitudes towards those with disabilities haven’t improved, despite the positive legacy the games intended to deliver, and this is apparent when you look at the contrast between the amount of people that use a wheelchair compared to the amount of bars, restaurants, and shops that are actually accessible and step-free.”
London – a city of contrasts
7% of Londoners consider themselves to have a mobility impairment, with 2% using a wheelchair on a permanent or regular basis.
However, a 2014 Government audit showed that 40% of restaurants in the UK don’t have an accessible toilet and 20% of High Street shops were not able to provide access for wheelchair users.
The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people from discrimination and requires that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are made when providing access to premises.
Making the High Street accessible
French eatery Villandry café recently took steps to become more accessible by installing a new Cibes lift in its St James Restaurant. The decadent Edwardian building has private rooms on the first floor and toilets in the basement.
Phillippe Le Roux, Managing Director for Villandry said: “We are committed to providing the most top quality service for all of our guests and each of our restaurants is fully accessible. This is something that is extremely important for us and that we will not compromise on.
“Our previous lift was very old and was breaking down more and more. It was imperative that we replaced our old lift with a new one as soon as possible.
“One of our other lifts had been installed by Cibes and the company’s service was exceptional, from the installation down to the maintenance and aftercare.”
Gary added: “Villandry have a reputation for excellent customer service and wanted a reliable lift that would go above and beyond disability regulations for their diners.”
“The lift was fitted outside of working hours and another lift was used during the works to ensure disabled customers could access the restaurant.”
Gary concluded: “Bars and restaurants shouldn’t fear becoming step-free. Almost every space can become accessible and our Sales Managers who are briefed in health and safety, construction and accessibility legislation, will be able to guide you every step of the way.”