A Squash and a Squeeze

You will need a bigger car Mr Adams.  The words of the sonographer at our scan in January. Given my partner was expecting, I was not particularly surprised at the comment.  But seeing two flickering heartbeats was quite a rude awakening to 2019.  Eleven months on and two beautiful girls are now weening.  Two fabulous book ends to capture the essence of 2019.

On Valentines Day I found myself in Motherwell, and more specifically, Motherwell Shopping Centre, meeting their security and administrative staff to thank them for their role in kick starting last year’s Purple Tuesday – the pictures of staff in purple fancy dress out on the streets were pretty iconic. If you have ever met Geraldine, the Centre Manager, you will understand what leading from the front means!

‘Leading from the Front’ was the name of our progress report on disability and the role of the Board.  The launch event in September, hosted with KPMG, was simply electric.  And that was due to participants telling everyone else what they had done and were going to do.  The report was full of case studies showing impact made since the original document was produced in May 2018.  View the full 2019 report.

The voice of participants was also the single biggest factor in the success of the second Purple Tuesday last month.  In Premier League parlance, we were worried about second season syndrome.  The first Purple Tuesday was something new, a breath of fresh air and a new kid on the block to support.  For the second Purple Tuesday, expectations were much higher and there wasn’t the surprise factor and so we had to raise our game and be different.

Purple Tuesday reached out to all sectors.  We attracted businesses from abroad.  And we had some new research about the state of play in terms of customer experience by disabled people.

But it was the 8,000 social media conversations – sharing stories, video and commitments – that pushed Purple Tuesday 2019 into Champions League contention.

I would like to give a big thank you to all of you who have encouraged, coerced, dragged, and in a lot of cases, simply opened a gate to a real change in the customer experience in your organisation.  There are more accessible websites, more quiet hours (and at the right time – from midday onwards), more lanyard initiatives, more people knowing British Sign Language words and more confident frontline staff.  With 3,500 commitments made we have passed the tipping point with an absolute focus now on delivery and good – or should I say – ‘normal’ practice.  Resetting the dial, changing existing perception and recreating a new normal is hard work.  I want to say a big thank you to every member of Purple staff for their hard work, determination and graft in supporting the successes of our organisation this year.

In the words of a brilliant children’s book our current car has been a bit of a ‘squash and a squeeze’ and over the Christmas break I am committed to reviewing my large people carrier or small minibus options!

Have a great Christmas and happy new year to you all.

Mike Adams
Chief Executive Officer
23 December 2019

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