Health clubs 'losing millions by shunning disabled consumers'
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Health clubs 'losing millions by shunning disabled consumers'

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Disability organisation Purple has claimed that health club operators and gyms are losing "millions of pounds of revenue" every year by "turning their backs on disabled consumers".

Purple is basing its view on a poll of 500 disabled people, conducted ahead of Purple Tuesday – an international event taking place on 12 November which focuses on changing the customer experience for disabled people.

More than half of the 500 respondents to the survey said they were "struggling to make purchases of a product/service" due to their condition.

Only 2 per cent of those interviewed said gym businesses are the "most accessible" to purchase from. Barriers highlighted by the research include inaccessible and unusable locations, poor customer service and a lack of understanding about disabilities.

"While many UK businesses and organisations are stepping up to the mark and making the changes needed to improve disabled customers’ experiences, far too many are not," said Mike Adams CEO of Purple.

“It should simply not be the case that one in two disabled people struggle to make purchases online or in person. Small changes can make a big difference to the customer experience; we want to help organisations have the confidence to improve their services for disabled people.”

Responding to the report, Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said:

"It is clear that people with disabilities are under-represented in health clubs and gyms, however it is an issue that the sector is working on to address.

“Research shows that people with disabilities are twice as likely to be inactive compared to people who are classed as non-disabled, even though the health benefits of physical activity are widely known.

“This is why ukactive is working with Sport England on Everyone Can, an evidence-based programme in partnership with English Federation of Disability Sport and Disability Rights UK to change perceptions around people with disabilities’ participation in physical activity and support the sector to become more inclusive.

“Along with Everyone Can, ukactive is proud to support the ‘all-inclusive sports day’ at Stoke Mandeville Stadium next week, part of the European Week of Sport. The event will highlight that sport and physical activity is open to everyone, no matter what your age, ability, gender or background.

“Our members and partners have a crucial role to play in making physical activity more accessible and attractive to all.”

It is estimated that there are more than 13 million disabled people in the UK – a fifth of the population.

• To find out more about the poll, click here.

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Disability organisation Purple has claimed that health club operators and gyms are losing "millions of pounds of revenue" every year by "turning their backs on disabled consumers".
Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University