There are plenty of awareness days, weeks and months for different illnesses and disabilities during May.
This week is ME awareness week and while not a disability, but a long-term illness, the physical symptoms can be as disabling as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The most common symptom of ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is extreme tiredness and it can affect anyone.
It is thought that around 200,000 people in the UK suffer with ME with different levels of severity. People with moderate level of the illness have reduced mobility and peaks and troughs in their level of symptoms and ability to do activities.
This month is also Stroke Awareness month. A stroke is a brain attack and happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
While some effects of a stroke may be obvious to others, many effects like emotional changes, memory loss and extreme tiredness are harder to see.
More than 1.2 million people have survived a stroke in the UK and it is a leading cause of disability in the UK, with almost two thirds of stroke survivors leaving hospital with a disability.
The fact is that from people suffering with ME, those having had a stroke, to the older population, there are many people who may struggle to access and navigate shops and businesses, which not only makes people feel excluded and ‘invisible’ but is also a missed opportunity for businesses.
But there are small steps which businesses can take to help people with mobility issues to feel welcome.
Small changes your business can make
Can you provide seating? Just has to be a chair which a person can sit down on if they feel a bit tired.
By having a few chairs or staff having awareness to offer chairs can go a long way.
Do you have a toilet? If so, how easy is it to get to and into?
Can you provide a handrail if you have a step at your business entrance?
It’s not about spending a fortune; it is about understanding disabilities and the small steps you can take to make a big difference to the experience others have as customers to your business.
We offer FREE disability awareness training and during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are offering all of our training online.
The training is split into manageable modules and you can do it in your own time and at your own pace.
You will learn about different disabilities, the issues people face and how, as a business, you can help people with all kinds of disabilities, which in turn will help you expand your customer base.
To take part in this beneficial and free training, click here