I can do that: Soap stars shout for better shop access.(Features)
Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England); 2/26/2004
Byline: TOM DOWLING
TV SOAP stars have joined the fight to get more shops accessible
to disabled people.
By October 1st,every business, large or small --from the local
shop to salons,health clubs, dentists and supermarkets --will need
to become more user-friendly to Britain's 8.6 million disabled
people in the biggest ever shake-up of consumer legislation.
New laws mean that businesses will need to make changes --such
as adapting premises, removing physical barriers or providing the
service another way --so that disabled people can use the service.
One way for businesses to make sure their get their act together
is by joining the Disability Rights Commission's Open4AllCampaign.
Julie Hesmonshalgh, who plays Hayley in Coronation Street, said:
``It's fantastic to back the campaign and Hayley's doing her bit
to knock down barriers in her cafe.''
Sue Nicholls (Audrey) said: ``Businesses will be hit hard if they
do nothing, yet small improvements mean they can reap the benefits
of the pounds 50 billion annual spending power of disabled people.''
Emmerdale's stars are also lending their weight to the
Elizabeth Estensen (Diane Blackstock) said: ``Even in
these cynical times it makes commercial sense to open up more
places to disabled people because they bring their families along
``This is quite aside from the obvious point that we live
in an equal society. Equality does not mean that some people
are barred due to poor access while other people can go where
Lucy Pargeter (Chastity Dingle) said: ``It just amazes
me that it's not been done before. Why has access never been
readily available to disabled customers? Surely it takes less
effort to build a ramp than a set of steps!''
The legislation,introduced under the Disability Discrimination
Act, will affect more than 2 million British businesses. Failure
to act could result in legal action.
COPYRIGHT 2004 MGN Ltd.