That old chestnut

Last week I wrote my first Purple blog which, focused on me and my own personal experiences with Purple. For this blog, I reflect on last year’s activities and what we can learn from this. To some, this blog may seem a little cliché, but I hope will also have resonance with you and your organisation.

We are limited only by our imaginations
Yes, that old chestnut that has been drilled into us since we were little cherubs making beautiful crayon smushed creations.

Some of the ideas to come out of Purple Tuesday have been truly inspiring! We had an autism aware Purple Santa, reducing many of the stresses and anxieties that some children with additional needs face when meeting Father Christmas.

Another organisation set their staff challenges which creatively exposed people to the experiences of those with different disabilities. In teams they completed tasks from the perspective of people with different impairments and identified customer service related areas which could be improved.

One of my personal favourites is where a local area organised a wheelchair race around the town centre encouraging members of the public to participate and in doing so, pay a fee to a local disability charity to help them raise funds. This activity was a great success as it raised awareness (and probably a few eyebrows to unknowing onlookers), creating a bit of fun in the local area and most importantly, it was a fantastic opportunity to really highlight to the local council the issues around physical accessibility on the high street. Something that will no doubt be invaluable to wheelchair users and those who are less mobile when some of these actions are implemented.

For Purple Tuesday 2020, be even bolder! Your events and actions don’t have to be grand or expensive, but fun and captivating usually leaves a lasting imprint in people’s minds.

Be brave
There has been a nervousness around disability for a long time and although we can start to see a positive shift in society, it takes an awful lot of courage to stand up and publicly say ‘our organisation is committed to improving the customer experience for disabled people’. The media these days can be fierce and statements such as that can be scrutinised, which is why I absolutely take my hat off to every single one of the 2,500 organisations who had the courage to do just that.

Organisations aside, disabled people with both visible and hidden impairments have been coming forward to highlight the challenges they face when interacting with various organisations. Some even went as far as creating videos and blogs to discuss the matter.

For me, the cherry on the cake was when I read about a group of disabled children going shop to shop with flyers and armed with information to help each organisation understand the importance of being part of the Purple Tuesday initiative.

I find it very humbling to see so many people from all different walks of life, with little to no ties with one another, come together and create a huge impact collectively.

Teamwork is everything
Believe it or not, the number of cogs that make Purple Tuesday churn is very few! But (brace yourself), we like to call ourselves the dream team! Our personalities are very different, but we balance each other well and work with each others strengths.

I like to nit-pick, Charlene likes to think big, Mike likes to keep everything on track and Dianne, well she likes to keep Mike on track! – individually it would be a nightmare, but together it just works!

My point here being that Purple Tuesday has been a huge success, bigger than we ever could have imaged but we reached new heights because we worked together, not just within our immediate team, but with our designers, web developers, PR company and most importantly, with you, the 2,500 organisations that participated.

The power of people is incredible and I cannot wait to see who else joins us this year and witness the huge impact we can make across the globe!

Nikita Archer
Purple Tuesday Officer
21 January 2019

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