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11 new disability sector champions announced

Posted: 24th February 2017

Eleven new sector champions, who will help to tackle the issues disabled people face as consumers, have been announced by the Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health.

The champions, who represent a range of different sectors and businesses, from gaming to retail, will use their influential status as leaders in their industries to promote the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people.

There are currently more than 11 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households - ‘the purple pound’ - is almost £250 billion. But many businesses are missing out on this potential customer base by having everyday products and services which aren’t available to disabled people – who, as a result, are regularly excluded from experiences and opportunities that many others take for granted.

The sector champions will amplify the voices of disabled customers and employees within their own industries, increasing accountability and challenging inequality. They will also be able to highlight specific changes and improvements that will make a difference to the millions of people who often miss out.

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

"As a public advocate for accessibility, these champions will help businesses realise the value of disabled consumers and the importance of catering to every customer’s needs.

These industries must become fully inclusive. Not being able to access the high street, products and services, transport or simply to access a loo jars with our national values: it must change.

The new sector champions will drive improvements to the accessibility and quality of services and facilities in their sector, helping to showcase best practice and show other businesses the merit of making disabled customers a priority."

The sector champions are:

  • Helen Drury, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Intu (retail)
  • Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything (music)
  • Huw Edwards, Public Affairs Director at UKActive (leisure)
  • Chris Veitch, Co-founder of Access New Business (tourism)
  • Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels (hotels)
  • Dan Brooke, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Channel 4 (media)
  • Sam Phillips, CMO at Omnicom Media Group (advertising)
  • Michael Connolly, Regional Training and Standards Manager at OCS ltd (transport - airports)
  • Jane Cole, Managing Director at Blackpool Transport Services (transport - buses)
  • Trudie Hills, Disability Manager, Lloyds Bank (banking)
  • Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of UKIE (gaming)