Access Fylde Coast

Access Fylde Coast

Access Fylde Coast is an exciting new project that will play a major part in boosting tourism and supporting the local economy across the Fylde Coast, by making it an outstanding location for people with disabilities.

Get a FREE Access Guide for your Business

Get a FREE 30 minute advice visit for your business from an access champion. They’ll give you free ideas and tips on how to make your business even more accessible and increase your customer-base.

Get in touch to book your visit. Phone 07938 502033 and please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!

What will Access Fylde Coast do?

The Access Fylde Coast project will do that by helping businesses based in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to be accessibility friendly to visitors and local people.

Businesses that are helpful and accessible to disabled people will attract more customers.

Access Fylde Coast will also help businesses to maximise their customer base by making their products and services available to people with long-term health conditions and disabilities.

Making it easier for people with health conditions and disabilities to access hotels, retailers, tourist attractions and events will enable those businesses  to benefit from additional spending. An estimated £14.8m is expected to be generated over the next three years – shouldn’t your business be part of it?

The project has been made possible thanks to £985,922 funding from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Get Help for your Business from Access Fylde Coast

You can get support with:

  • FREE sessions to find out how to welcome people who have a disability
  • Access FREE assessment of your premises to ensure they are disabled access friendly
  • There’s FREE support from a host of volunteers who can help you to prepare
  • Plus FREE grants to improve your business
    and much more

Make sure that your business is taking advantage of the untapped spending power of the ‘Purple Pound’.

What is the ‘Purple Pound’?

In the same way that the ‘grey pound’ is used to describe the spending power of older people, the ‘purple pound’ is the spending power of disabled people and their families.

It’s thought there are around seven million people of working age who all have some kind of disability. 

Collectively, those people and their families have a lot of spending power between them. So much spending power that’s reckoned to be worth around £249bn to the economy. That’s the ‘purple pound’.

Hidden Disability

When someone says ‘disability’ the first thing you may think of is a wheelchair. But that’s far from the whole story. Many disabilities and long term health conditions are invisible. They also control people’s lives in wide ranging ways which you might not imagine.

Making your business welcoming and accessible to everyone is not only a ‘nice thing to do’. It’s also a great way to make your business more profitable.

The purple pound is fast becoming a spending power that your business can’t afford to ignore.

More about Access Fylde Coast

Trailblazing project to bring £14.8m to local economy gets underway with high-profile backing

A FYLDE coast charity has launched a trailblazing £985,522 project to boost the local economy by making Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre an outstanding location for people with disabilities. It’s already gained high-profile backing locally, within its first few weeks.

The Access Fylde Coast project, spear-headed by Blackpool charity Disability First, will help break down the barriers of disability. That includes hidden disabilities, such as sensory, mental health and learning disabilities. It will help business across the district benefit from an estimated £14.8m* of additional spending from disabled visitors.

A pioneering project

Stephen Brookes MBE, a national disability activist, this week lent his backing to the project, calling it a “pioneering project” that would make huge steps in “putting the Fylde Coast on the map”.

The Blackpool resident is also Rail Sector Champion for the Minister for Disabled People. He said: “It will not just make Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre a place that caters well for people with disabilities, but for parents with young children and for all. Everyone in the area has something to gain from this wonderful project.

“Blackpool Transport has worked on ensuring accessible transport for all. The Access Fylde Coast project will build on that so it’s not just accessible to get here, but is accessible when you are here. This could be rolled out as a best practice model for other coastal resorts across the UK.”

John Child, Managing Director of The Sandcastle, called the project a “fantastic opportunity” for businesses across the Fylde Coast. Access Fylde Coast launches officially in April.

A huge step forward

“It’s a huge, positive step forward to have an organisation like Access Fylde Coast now working to promote the wide and varied levels of accessibility that we have to offer in Blackpool and across the Fylde Coast,” said Mr Child.

“As one of the country’s leading accessible visitor attractions we’ve seen the benefits in the investment we’ve made in our facilities and team member training and the positive impact it has had on our business. Supporting local businesses and helping them to develop their levels of accessibility will have excellent benefits for the town and our visitors. It’s a fantastic opportunity and we wish the team every success.”

Alan Reid is CEO of Disability First. He says improvements over the past few years with accessible toilets and ramps to assist people with physical conditions have been good, but that this project would further advance that progress.

Improving local access

“Blackpool has a higher than average number of people living with disabilities and our work with local businesses and retailers to improve the service given to customers with disabilities will not just ensure it is accessible to tourists, but help a large number of residents too.

“We know people get concerned about costs involved – but actually it doesn’t have to be a major cost to help disabled people access businesses. Some people are not sure how to interact with disabled people and so we will support them through free disability awareness training or through access tips. We can show you how a slight change, whether a shop, café or retail set-up, would help people with visible and non-visible disabilities and boost your trade.

“Many of jobs on the Fylde Coast are reliant upon tourism. By making it a more accessible place for all people, our aim is that by attracting more disabled people to the area, we can help local business growth. An estimated £14.8m of additional spending could come from disabled visitors.”

The cash injection of £985,522 from the Coastal Communities Fund for the pioneering project was announced in September 2018 by Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, as part of a Government initiative to invest £250 million in our much-loved seaside areas by 2020 through dedicated programmes to help generate jobs and boost business.

A dedicated team has now been appointed and began working on the Access Fylde Coast project at the end of January 2019 with an official launch planned for  April 24th.

Accessibility App

A new digital app is being created to link in with the popular and widely-used Blackpool Transport App. It will make it easier for people to find disability-friendly places, toilets and special facilities. Plus there’s a new ‘buddy’ system that will see volunteers linking up with both local and visiting disabled people. That way they can fully experience all that the area has to offer.

And, Access Fylde Coast will also be hosting a series of disability-friendly events. They’ll also be showcasing high profile disability performers at major events, including the Blackpool Illumination Switch On and Lytham Festival.

Disability First was named the most outstanding local charity in Gordon Marsden’s local heroes awards in December 2018; Alan Reid added “This project is unique, exciting and a real trailblazer. Everything we do will aim to break down barriers and make the Fylde Coast a positive and all-inclusive place”.

  • To find out more about the project email hollywhittaker@disabilityfirst.org.
  • Anyone wanting to volunteer to be a buddy should call Krysia Ingham on 07483 041026. Please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!

While you’re here…

Have a look at the Visit Fylde Coast website homepage for more of the latest updates.

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