Every Customer Counts Initiative Launched in Newcastle
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council signalled its commitment to the Equality Commission’s ‘Every Customer Counts’ initiative at an event on Tuesday, 17 April 2018 in the Newcastle Centre. The programme, which supports Northern Ireland traders seeking to promote accessible services, was launched by Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew.
Speaking at the event, Councillor Mulgrew said “I am delighted to note that 21 local businesses have already signed up to this initiative which will help businesses to really think about accessible services, in particular, services for people with a disability.
“During my year as Chairperson of this Council I have spoken to many people and I know that this programme has the potential to make a direct and positive contribution to the lives of those living with a disability. This initiative builds upon the fantastic work that Autism Initiative in Newcastle has already carried out and I welcome the actions of the Equality Commission, Autism Initiatives have undertaken, as well as the commitment of the local business community.”
Eileen Lavery, Head of Policy, Advice and Research, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said, “We’re very pleased to see this initiative gaining momentum in Newcastle. Every Customer Counts is a win for customers and a win for businesses. When customers are welcomed, access is easy and the whole family can be accommodated, they’ll be back and businesses will benefit from good recommendations.”
Ms Lavery continued, “A measure of the need for Every Customer Counts is the number of calls reporting disability discrimination to our advisory team – 4 out of every 10 calls speak about being offered a lesser service or not being able to access services. Where businesses are committed to Every Customer Counts, we expect fewer customers to complain of discrimination on grounds of disability.”
Acting National Director, Autism Initiatives, Eamonn Slevin said, "It has been a great experience to collaborate with the Newry and Mourne District Council on the Every Customer Counts campaign. This campaign has given us the opportunity to discuss with local businesses the small adjustments that can make a huge difference in the day to day lives of people with autism.
“We currently employ 90 staff supporting over 50 people with autism in Newcastle, so we know how important this initiative is. The growing number of businesses signing up to pledge their support for the campaign is hugely positive and we hope that the launch today can encourage others to join us in making fully inclusive businesses the norm rather than the exception."
Autism Initiatives Area and Community Manager Alison Lyttle said, "Working with the Newry and Mourne District Council and the local businesses has been a rewarding experience; it shows the generosity and willingness of people to make adjustments which will really benefit the whole community. The Every Customer Counts campaign has really gathered some momentum and we hope that other businesses large and small will sign up to help support it.”