Marks & Spencer have announced they are proud to be taking part in Purple’s new Purple Tuesday campaign – despite disability campaigners begging them for years to make their stores more accessible.

The new campaign will see 13 November become Purple Tuesday, which the charity hopes to make an annual tradition, where shopping will become “more accessible,” with staff at major high street stores such as Argos, Sainsbury’s, and Asda receiving additional training from the charity to ensure they’re able to make the experience more accessible for shoppers.

M&S have long been a target for disability campaigners as the high street store refused to install Changing Places in their stores. Blogger Laura Moore, who blogs as Mum on a Mission, filed a formal complaint to the retail giant under the Equality Act, requesting reasonable adjustments be made for her son, who requires a bench and a hoist in her local store.

She was told that the changes, which would enable disabled people to use their toilet facilities, were a health and safety risk to staff and customers, and would put other customers at a disadvantage – despite the store having three disabled toilets, a large baby changing room and a feeding/family room.

Laura has also highlighted the huge flaws of their new range of clothes for disabled children – many of whom would not be able to try them on in store due to the lack of disabled changing rooms.

She noted that none of the bloggers who were invited to the range’s launch actually had disabled children (noting that this could be because they refused to go), and said: “if M&S are as inclusive and diverse as this range makes them look then why are they refusing to make adjustments that would mean the same families who would buy those clothes, could actually spend time in their stores and be able to use the same services non-disabled customers can?”

Read Laura’s blogs on the issue, or Sarah Brisdion’s column in July’s issue of UNITE.


Image: Flickr/Ewan Munro


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