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New business champion for arts and culture to support rights of disabled consumers

One year on from the appointment of the Government’s sector champions, a new champion for the arts and culture sector has been announced by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work.

The role of the sector champions is to help tackle the issues disabled people face as consumers across a range of industries, from retail to music and gaming to advertising.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, said:

“The sector champions have been doing some fantastic work over the past year to improve accessibility and inclusion for disabled customers, which is why I’m delighted to announce the addition of a new champion for the arts and culture sector.

“We know that disabled people are often under-represented in arts and culture, both as customers and as employees. By showing businesses the importance of making disabled customers a priority, our new arts and culture champion will help to ensure disabled people can enjoy activities that many others take for granted.”

The Minister hosted an event at Channel 4 to mark the anniversary, celebrating the champions’ achievements to date which include the creation of a toolkit to help shops become more accessible, and additional support for disabled people travelling through airports to ensure staff better understand their needs.

The new arts and culture champion, Andrew Miller, will use his influential status in the sector to promote the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people. Andrew has wide ranging experience as an arts producer and programmer, and is a National Council member for both the Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales.

Andrew Miller, Arts and Culture Sector Champion, said:

“Attitudes to disability are being transformed across the cultural sector, but my appointment to this role signifies more needs to be done.

“I am looking forward to working with the Minister, artists, cultural organisations, umbrella bodies, funders and HE institutions to address outstanding access issues, improve training, increase levels of employment and disabled leadership, and to ensure there is no place left for discrimination to hide in this sector.”

There are currently more than 13 million disabled people in the UK and the spending power of their households – ‘the purple pound’ – is almost £250 billion. But many arts and culture businesses are missing out on this potential customer base by not ensuring that their facilities are fully accessible for disabled people.