Tell us a little about Purple
Purple was formed as the successor organisation to the Essex Coalition of Disabled People (ECDP), a disability charity that provided a range of support for disabled people. The Government’s commitment to halving the employment gap for disabled people and the roll out of their Disability Confident accreditation scheme provided the backdrop to Purple’s offer to business. Therefore Purple has a unique approach insofar as we support both disabled people and build the capacity and capability of businesses to see the value of disabled people as consumers and potential employees. In the disability market Purple aims to positively influence both the demand and supply, if you like. In other words we want to change the conversation around disability from one of disadvantage and inequality to one around potential and value.
How do you engage with business?
Our work focusses on providing bespoke solutions to businesses. We support businesses to become Disability Confident through the development of their HR policies and practice. Across the UK there are now over 5,000 companies signed up to becoming Disability Confident which can only be good for disabled people. We also deliver a range of training programmes for both business leaders and their organisations.
Furthermore we have identified a gap in marketing to disabled consumers, which is a huge missed opportunity for business, given that it is currently worth £249 billion per year in the UK alone – a concept referred to as the Purple Pound. We work with businesses to address this missed opportunity, positively affecting their bottom line and reputation among consumers. We recently launched an initiative, Help Me Spend My Money #HMSMM, to the retail sector.
What services do you offer to people with disabilities?
We provide employment support, information and advice. In the next decade we aim to help more than 20,000 disabled people to find permanent jobs through our recruitment agency.
We also run an agency that matches personal assistants to disabled employers, providing greater independence and opportunity for all.
What advice do you have for people with disabilities currently seeking work in the UK?
Disabled people should have the same opportunity to maximise their potential. Purple aims to inspire and support the aspirations of disabled people. We do this by working alongside disabled people and building the confidence of businesses.
How can #valuable support your efforts?
Disability is an opportunity for businesses but yet too few view it simply as a corporate social responsibility – or not at all. Purple and #valuable see the world in the same way and together we can bring others along with us to really change the disability conversation.