Wheelchair-using student starts petition calling on clothes stores to feature changing rooms for the disabled

By Max Pearson

A De Montfort University student who has to use a wheelchair has started a petition calling for clothes stores to include changing rooms for its disabled customers.

Simon Sansome, 34, became disabled three years ago following a spinal injury.

He said: “Many stores in the UK do not have disabled access and contain unsuitable changing facilities for people with disabilities.

“I would like the government to introduce legislation that would make it compulsory for all clothing stores to have disabled changing facilities.”

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Simon Sansome

Mr Sansome, who founded Ability Access, a Facebook page allowing people with different types of disabilities to upload issues about places where they have been, has felt aggrieved at many stores’ current facilities.

The former Liberal Democrat Borough Councillor, who has also stood twice as a candidate in Parliamentary elections, said: “There are no disabled changing facilities for me, or anyone in my situation to try on clothes, so if I like something I have to take it home and then try it on there.

“If an item does not fit, I have to make a special trip to return it for a refund.”

The mature Journalism student added: “In some clothes stores you may need to speak to a manager if the shop has a policy of only giving store credit for returns.

“So, if you buy something that does not fit, you can only get store credit and not a full refund, meaning you are out of pocket either way.

“This needs to be challenged and changed.”

A recent study by the Extra Costs Commission found that 75% of disabled customers have ended up leaving a shop as a result of poor service or access.

This is significant as Britain’s 11.9 million disabled people are believed to have a perceived spending power of £80 billion per year.

Mr Sansome added: “The reason I set up the petition is because every time I go shopping, I struggle to get around shops like Sports Direct.

“There is simply not enough room in the aisles to get a wheelchair or scooter around and this is not an isolated incident.

“I always end up crashing or taking clothes off the rails and end up needing assistance.”

If you would like to sign Mr Sansome’s petition for clothes stores to include changing rooms for its disabled customers, please follow this link: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/204913

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