Local business owners, traders, service providers and residents will be interested to hear about a new guide being produced for Dorchester to entice more people to visit the town.

The Dorchester Access Group (DAG), supported by the Dorchester Chamber for Business and the Business Improvement District, is embarking on a town wide survey to map how accessible business are and to highlight how much more business are able to offer customers that they are necessarily aware of.

A study shows that 54% of people with access requirements avoid going to new places if they cannot find information about accessibility (Euan’s Guide Survey) and 63% of businesses do not promote their provisions for those with access requirements – meaning that a lot of potential business is being missed.

Furthermore, with an ageing population, those with accessibility requirements are likely to represent an even larger section of a business’s potential customer base. Also, between 2006 and 2015 there was a massive 31% uplift in the number of domestic trips taken by the 55+ age group, so an Accessibility Guide can help to future proof local shops and services.

Currently there are approximately 12.2 million disabled people (1 in 5) in the UK with a disposable household income of £212bn per annum (2014), but there are very few towns in the UK that make a positive effort to tap into this.

DAG aims to change this for Dorchester by sending out a simple online questionnaire for business and leisure venues to complete.

“As a wheelchair user I have to research places carefully before I visit them to make sure that there is sufficient access to shops and other establishments to make my visit worthwhile. Most of the time such information is not available so I end up going somewhere else. Even within my hometown of Dorchester I am still finding some shops which I thought were inaccessible to me have a hidden accessible entrance. It makes sense to me that a directory containing this information will not only help the disabled, but also attract new customers for these businesses and the town in general.” Nick Power – member of DAG

If you want to be part of the guide but have not received an email, please could you contact Emma Scott, who works at Dorchester Town Council – either by popping into the office, calling her on 01305 266861 or emailing her at [email protected].

And do get involved, the more comprehensive the guide is the more customers and visitors we can attract!

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