How Can Local Businesses Ensure Inclusivity?

Disabled customers make up a large portion of the UK market. There’s around 13.3 million disabled people in the UK, 18% of which are working age adults, 44% pension age adults and 7% children.

Many businesses could be missing out on their valuable custom, simply because they haven’t provided the services to meet the needs of these customers. So, how can your small business lead the way when in comes catering for the needs of people with disabilities?

Keep Up-to-Date with News

It was the announcement of the new children’s home in Shrewsbury that brought the issue of local inclusivity for disabled people to our attention. It got us thinking about local businesses and whether they were accessible for the disabled children and their families that would be residing at the home.

To make sure your business can be fully inclusive, it’s important to keep up with local news like this. It means you’re better informed to provide the services that a consumer with disabilities might need to shop or do business with you.

Adapting Your Operations

Adapting your business for disabled customers is the first step to inclusivity. Research shows that sensory disabilities are not adequately catered for in the UK, with only one in ten businesses currently providing written communications in braille and audio, and only a third of businesses displaying signs that are easy to read, in high-contrast and in large type.

The majority of businesses aren’t accessible to customers with mobility disabilities either –  91% of British SMEs say their business doesn’t have a lift (if there’s more than one floor), 81% don’t have disabled car parking spaces, 74% don’t have ramps and another 74% don’t have easily-accessible toilets for disabled people.

These figures aren’t great for business inclusivity in the UK. Something as simple as easy-to-read signs and installing a ramp can make a huge difference and make your business accessible to disabled consumers. If you have the extra budget, you could even provide in-house mobility solutions for them.

Look at Your Employment

Figures show that more than 3.4 million disabled people are in employment, but they’re more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people.

Your business can be the one to help change this. Encourage the employment of disabled employees within your organisation and work hard to understand how you can make employment easier for them – whether their impairments are due to mobility, stamina, fatigue or dexterity. Hiring a diverse workforce means hiring people with disabilities and there are plenty of benefits to doing that. You’re likely to have a larger talent pool to choose from, as well as low absentee rates and long employments.


With the spending power of disabled consumers estimated at over £212 billion and the figure predicted to increase in coming years, businesses must adapt to become more inclusive. By adapting your premises for disabled consumers and ensuring a diverse workforce going forward, your business could be the one to set the good example in the local area.


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on

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