Callum Brazzo (23), of Station Road, has launched a campaign on social media called shopabilitynotSTOPability to prompt shops and supermarkets into making their premises more accessible for disabled customers.
A survey last month by disabled access advisors DisabledGo on behalf of the Government found that out of more than 30,000 shops in the UK, about 20 per cent of them were inaccessible for wheelchair users.
Callum, who was diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder known as Asperger’s syndrome about two years ago, said: “I see the campaign as initially a way to have a conversation regarding disability access and shops.
“It’s not meant to be a name and shame exercise because, ideally, we want co-operation to enable change to happen so that it will help disabled people.
“I’m not saying to shops ‘you’re terrible’, but rather ‘I think you need to work on this’”.
According to figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions last January, there are more than 11 million people with a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability in Great Britain.
Meanwhile, another survey by the Business Disability Forum last year found that a third of the UK population were disabled or close to someone who is and had a combined annual spending power of more than £80 billion.
Callum said: “I don’t think you can serve a community without opening doors for people and unfortunately, the problem regarding disability access to shops and elsewhere is an omnipresent issue.
“I have so much passion for this campaign after coming through my own personal struggles and the response has so far been very good.”
A spokesman for Aldi said: “We pride ourselves on high levels of customer service and Aldi’s success is driven by customer satisfaction.
“We therefore consider customer needs to be essential and, as such, Aldi aims to make sure that a disabled person is able, as much as possible, to have the same shopping experience in our stores as that offered to non-disabled customers.”
Meanwhile, a Lidl spokesman said: “We recognise that we have a diverse demographic of customers and so we pride ourselves on the support mechanisms which have been developed to assist customers with disabilities and implemented throughout our stores.”
To join Callum’s campaign, tweet #shopabilitynotSTOPability or email firstname.lastname@example.org