‘More needs to be done’ to make Leeds more disability-friendly

The Guide Dogs sensory unit in LeedsVictoria Leeds's accessible shopping day initiative included a mobile sensory unit .

Leeds-based disability advocate and blogger, Chloe Tear, says that “there’s a lack of awareness” and stores in Leeds should become more accessible.

Sales and crowds make it even more difficult for disabled people to go out shopping, according to Chloe, who is partially sighted.

Disability advocate, Chloe Tear's portrait
Chloe Tear Disability advocate Chloe Tear has spoken about the difficulties of being a disabled shopper in Leeds.

She said the lighting in stores should also be adjusted accordingly, because when a shop is poorly lit, “it just adds those extra barriers”.

Scope, a charity promoting equality for the disabled, advises that people with disabilities should not be an afterthought, but a priority when designing a retail space.

The charity wants all retail staff to be trained to assist disabled customers, in order to improve their shopping experience.

Chloe said that, as a disabled customer, “when I walk into a shop it’s very rare that people will ask me if I need assistance and sometimes, I don’t know where I’m going, and I would be really grateful if they would ask me”.

Recent initiatives in Leeds

Some retailers have shown concern for people with disabilities and started to improve accessibility in their stores.

Earlier this week, Victoria Leeds partnered with Opera North, Guide Dogs Leeds and Breast Cancer Haven to host a day of activities meant to raise awareness on accessibility for disabled people.

Natasha Morris, the Sponsorships Manager for Opera North said the partnership’s aim was to provide “accessible opera experiences for everyone in Leeds”.

Other activities involved a sensory unit meant to show non-disabled people what it means to be blind or partially-sighted and a yoga session in Victoria Gate Centre.

About the Author

Eliza Lita
Second year Journalism student at Leeds Beckett University. Reporter for Leeds Now.

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