Tuesday 12th November 2019 is Purple Tuesday; a campaign which aims to make retail more accessible for those with disabilities and to improve the customer experience moving forward.

Ways we help with accessibility:

Our Shopmobility store is located on the First Floor and offers visitors to the centre free electric scooter hire, free powered wheelchair hire and free manual wheelchair hire.  Shopmobility is open to suit the Howard Centre opening hours but it is advisable to book in advanced to use this free service. Telephone 01707 336688 to make a booking.

Most schemes ask that you bring identification containing your name and address on your first visit; this is so that schemes can complete a registration form and keep a record of your details. Many schemes will issue you with a membership card and, on your next visit, you can simply show this card. Once you have registered, a member of staff will talk to you about what sort of vehicle you require, and what you will feel comfortable using.

Staff at the scheme will then give training. When you feel confident and the staff are happy that you are in control of the vehicle – off you go! The whole process takes no longer than 30 minutes maximum and in most cases you will be off in about 15 minutes. Visit www.shopmobilityuk.co.uk for more details.

Guide Dogs / Assistance Dogs are welcome.

The Howard Centre’s Marketing Agency, Bewonder* joins forces with international poet in celebration of Purple Tuesday

Marketing agency and wordsmith strive to empower shoppers

Leeds and London-based, integrated marketing agency Bewonder* has announced that it is launching a nationwide campaign in partnership with internationally-renowned mental health poet, James McInerney to mark Purple Tuesday – the UK’s flagship accessible shopping day.

Taking place on Tuesday 12 November, the initiative will run across 48 shopping centres under the multi-award-winning Bewonder* portfolio and will see a selection of James’ work on display. All have been created to celebrate Purple Tuesday’s recognition of the importance and needs of shoppers with disabilities, as well as raise awareness of non-visible impairments.

Speaking about the project, James said: “I wanted to do something different with my poetry and create something that made people stop and think: ‘I relate to that. I needed to see that today’.

“It all started as sort of a social experiment on the London Underground a year ago, and to see how much it’s taken off since then is really staggering!” James continued. “Poetry for me is an outlet, a way to get rid of all the heaviness and process different emotions, so the fact I’m working with Bewonder* to help give other people this same outlet is very humbling. I’m incredibly grateful.

“Purple Tuesday is all about bringing positivity and equality back into everyday lives, and my poems aim to do the same.” He added. “Mental health is a taboo subject, but it is okay to not be okay and this really embraces that.”

The collaboration with James McInerney combines his work on  Poetry in Public, which sees his poetry displayed on service information boards around the country – and even in some areas of Australia and the USA. His talent also focuses on raising awareness, wherein he uses poetry to highlight mental health and depression in an attempt to help those experiencing difficulties and show them that it is ok and they are not alone.

“This is a brilliant campaign,” said Kaye Walker, Head of Bewonder*. “After Purple Tuesday’s success last year, we’re proud to be involved again this year and to be partnering with James to help deliver important messages into communities further.

“It’s always been a part of our strategic ambition to work with like-minded people and organisations across all industries, and we’re delighted to have this opportunity to raise awareness for accessibility in all aspects of life.”

Purple Tuesday was 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.

Last year, the first-ever Purple Tuesday was a huge success, with over 1,500 pledges to make concrete changes and improve the customer experience for disabled people. This included commitments such as staff training, digital audits, better signage and training of frontline staff in basic British sign language. Purple Tuesday gathered support from more than 750 businesses.

Mike Adams OBE, CEO of Purple, said: “I am delighted Bewonder* is involved in Purple Tuesday. It underlines its public commitment to improve the customer experience for disabled people.

“Meeting the needs of disabled customers makes commercial sense for businesses and I am hopeful others will follow the lead of Bewonder*. Together we can, and we commit to change the customer experience for disabled people for good.”