Improved Shopping Experiences for Customers with Disabilities

‘Serving the Community’ was launched today [16th November 2004] in Nolan’s Supermarket in Clontarf, Dublin. This is a joint publication of the Equality Authority and RGDATA (the representative association for independent grocery outlets nationwide).

‘Serving the Community’ is a guide for shops on providing a service to people with disabilities. It encourages retailers to make reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities, which is a requirement under the Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004. A poster is also available for display in shops, which encourages people with disabilities to seek any necessary assistance in accessing any goods or services.

Speaking at the photocall, RGDATA Director General, Tara Buckley said “Every independent retailer’s aim is to provide first-rate service and a welcoming environment for all their customers. In this way ‘Serving the Community’ helps retailers define what is seen as reasonable for their particular retail environment and gives practical suggestions for improving the shopping experience for customers with disabilities”. She continued “RGDATA members are aware of their obligations under the Equality Acts and whilst the majority of retailers already meet the new requirements we are not claiming to be perfect. However these guidelines present an opportunity and challenge for retailers to really open up services to people with a disability, resulting in a better service for all”.

Niall Crowley, CEO of the Equality Authority referred to the publication as reflecting “a shared understanding of RGDATA and the Equality Authority, that equality is a key element in any pursuit of quality customer service. It provides advice on the steps shops can take to ensure they are accessible to all people with disabilities. In making reasonable accommodation for customers with disabilities, shops can improve their accessibility for all in the community. Meeting this challenge is vital and important given the many roles shops play at the heart of local communities around the country”.

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