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Try these New Year resolutions for a more inclusive world

Try these New Year resolutions for a more inclusive world
30th December 2018 Ian Streets

It’s that time of year again. Motivated by a month or more of excess, New Year “resolutionaries” worldwide will commit to giving up the booze, cigarettes and cake. They’ll trumpet their targets for training regimes and weight loss, or maybe they’ll just pledge to be nicer to people.
Will it last? Media reports year after year suggest not. There’s even a “Quitters’ Day” – the day when most New Year resolutions bite the dust.
The theory is that by the second Friday of a New Year most of those who made resolutions have decided that life is much more fun without them. Dry January has come along to help the waverers through that tricky first month, but can they overcome the challenge of Blue Monday? That’s the day towards the end of January when pay day is still too far away and the festive financial crunch really begins to bite.
The obvious answer is to choose a New Year resolution that you can stick to, and we’ve got a few suggestions that will help to create a more inclusive world.
The first is to maintain the commitment to improving the accessibility of your business. As New Year resolutions go, it’s an easy one to keep once you have made the initial effort. Hopefully you’ll get daily reminders from rising numbers of disabled customers attracted through your door. A key difference is that you are not just making the commitment to help yourself – you are doing it to help disabled people and to promote inclusivity. If you break that resolution you could be letting a lot of people down.
Number two is to remember that not all disabilities and impairments are obvious. Pause for thought and don’t jump to conclusions. Just because someone can walk into or out of an accessible loo without a mobility aid doesn’t mean they aren’t disabled.
Third on the list is to look at what your business does, anticipate the range and variety of impairments and consider whether all people can access all of your services. If someone walks into your coffee shop and they clearly use a mobility aid why not routinely invite them to sit down and then take their order across to them?
Our fourth suggestion is to join the growing number of businesses which have introduced a quiet time. Set aside a period during the week when you can introduce that to accommodate people who need a quieter environment – and let them know you are doing it.
Number five is to give your staff disability confidence training. Staying with that coffee shop scenario, small businesses could get together with neighbours to share the cost. Work together towards making your business community accessible to all, a focal point of inclusivity. Larger employers should do this routinely. It’s relevant to all businesses that have regular contact with customers, and to staff who might have disabled colleagues and who welcome visitors to the business.

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