'#PurpleLightUp' - FAQ

1. What is #PurpleLightUp?

#PurpleLightUp is a global movement led by disabled employees/networks/resource groups and allies, designed to celebrate the economic contribution of disabled people. Our members at EY helped us to make a film which explains more click here to watch it.

It was conceived by PurpleSpace Founder Kate Nash OBE in 2017. Three years on it has grown into a vibrant virtual community of change agents around the globe, who join forces in the run-up to UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) as we press for further disability inclusion.

2. When does #PurpleLightUp take place?

#PurpleLightUp happens on and around 3rd December which coincides with IDPD. As we are an authentic disabled-led movement, we chose 3rd December as a mark of respect to IDPD which provides a unified focal point for activities to improve organisational and individual disability confidence.

We work with the Global Business and Disability Network, part of the ILO, to keep them appraised of the movement and roll out information about their key themes to enable networks/resource groups, allies and champions to combine our efforts to improve the rights of disabled people and further our social inclusion.

3. Why has #PurpleLightUp aligned with The Valuable 500 movement?

The Valuable 500 is a global movement putting disability inclusion on the business leadership agenda to drive change from the top down. #PurpleLightUp is a global movement led by disabled employees educating their organisations on disability inclusion from the bottom up. We are two sides of the same coin. Watch this short film to hear PurpleSpace CEO Kate Nash OBE and The Valuable 500 Founder Caroline Casey explain more.

4. My CEO has signed up the Valuable 500, does that mean I can sign the #PurpleLightUp pledge page?

YES. Great stuff, we're so pleased to hear that your CEO has taken the first step. To feature on our pledge page we are asking CEO's to celebrate #PurpleLightUp by ensuring they commit to developing their disability inclusion strategy by learning directly from their own people either via a pre-existing disability employee network/resource group or by setting one up.

5. We can't sign up to the Valuable 500 movement because we are a public sector organisation or not ready to make that step, can we still sign the #PurpleLightUp pledge page?

YES. Of course you can. #PurpleLightUp means one of three things so you might be doing other things to celebrate the economic contribution of disabled people in other ways.

6. I'm a PurpleSpace member how can I take part?

As a PurpleSpace member you are automatically entitled to use the #PLU logo and how you take part is entirely down to you, your network and organisation. As long as you are celebrating and raising awareness of the economic contribution of disabled employees it's up to you. In previous years members have used our shopping list of ideas to help spark creativity, download your copy here.

7. Do you recommend a particular shade of purple?

NO. At PurpleSpace we support diversity and inclusion for all shades of purple but if you particularly like the shade that we use the colour codes are: CMYK 60 90 0 0 or RGB 130 54 140 (Pantone number 2612 C is similar).

8. Can I buy #PurpleLightUp merchandise?

YES. There are products available from #PurpleLightUp merchandise partner Concept. You can view the merchandise brochure here.

9. What steps do I need to take if we want to light our head office, flagship store or branch purple?

The best advice we can give here is to get your Diversity & Inclusion, Disability Champions and Facilities team speaking together as early in the year as possible. If you are a PurpleSpace member, why not login to the Member Zone and ask your peers what steps they took to organise this.

10. I remember seeing the Channel 4 'I don't work properly' film during #PurpleLightUp 2018, is this still available to watch?

YES, it is. In 2018, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our members at Channel 4 in producing a short film featuring PurpleSpace members from including: Lloyds Banking Group, BT, Nationwide, Lloyd's of London and HSBC. The film helped to spread our message about celebrating the empowerment of disabled employees across the globe. Visit the Channel 4 website to find out more about the film.

11. Can a member of the PurpleSpace team come and speak at our #PurpleLightUp event?

NO. It's great that you are planning an event - we can't wait to see how it goes on social media and we are flattered that you would like one of the team along but regrettably, we are a small team coordinating a global movement so it's just not possible for us to join you. The lead into #PurpleLightUp is in an exceptionally busy time for our small team so we are unable to personally support individual member events.

But we do have some ideas...

  • If you are a member of PurpleSpace, you could try asking one of our Ambassadors – they are all expert Disability Networkologists in their own right, working across different industries and sectors. You could try reaching out to them directly, meet our Ambassadors here.
  • You could try asking your own Disability Champion to host or speak at your event - It's always a great idea to get your senior disability champions or exec sponsors more involved in your work so make the most of this opportunity. You could even ask a Disability Champion from another organisation.
  • Ask your #PurpleSpace peers – There are now around 600 members of the PurpleSpace community registered in our Member Zone. Once you've decided on your #PurpleLightUp day theme, e.g. introducing a Disability Passport, launching a mental health or impairment specific sub-network or holding a storytelling event, put a request out in the Member Zone asking if any of your peers would like to come and speak to your network about the topic. Or they might be able to do a short vlog or blog to say congratulations – and you could do the same for them.

Don't forget, each year members will be asked to join an individual member usage meeting, where we sit down and work with you to decide how you want to best use the benefits of membership. This is a great opportunity to explore how you go #Bigger #Bolder and #Brighter next year for #PLU.

12. I am a member of an employee network/resource group, but we aren't a member of PurpleSpace yet. Can we get involved?

YES. #PurpleLightUp is a global movement open to all disabled people and allies and we are all about the power of employee networks and resource groups.

Although we'd obviously love you to join the PurpleSpace community we also want to hear about the great work being carried out by disability networks and resource groups across the globe. If you have a dedicated public webpage or social media account promoting your network/resource group, you can provide us with details and we will promote your work on our pledge page. And the best way is to join us on the airwaves via Twitter and Instagram.

13. I'm not disabled myself but I support a family member, friend or colleagues with a disability. Can I take part?

YES. This movement has captured the hearts and minds of people across the globe. If disability inclusion and celebrating our economic contribution means something to you personally we would love you to take part.

We suggest that you take an action based around the colour purple, to grab people's attention (give out purple badges, dress up in purple, have a purple cake sale) and give out ONE simple piece of advice to help to improve disability inclusion. For example:

  • Share why disability inclusion is important to you
  • Explain why it's ok for people with non-visible disability to use accessible toilets
  • Promote a quiet space in your office/shop/club for people who find noise or crowds difficult to deal with
  • Give your favorite tip for making social media more inclusive such as adding descriptions to photos you share

THEN share your photos and your advice on our Twitter or Instagram pages using #PurpleLightUp and follow us @mypurplespace

14. Which social media platforms can I use?

In 2019 we are going to be focusing on Twitter and Instagram but don't let this stop you joining in on other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Maybe add a purple border to your photo for the week? Whichever platform you decided to use don't forget to use hashtag #PurpleLightUp.

15. Is #PurpleLightUp the same as Purple Tuesday?

NO. Purple Tuesday is an international call to action to celebrate the purple pound – the spending power of disabled people and their families. We know the great people behind Purple Tuesday and while we are all working towards greater equality for disabled people our global movement is not the same as Purple Tuesday which is very much focussed on improving inclusion for disabled customers.

If you are a retailer taking part in Purple Tuesday on November 13th, take lots of photos on the day (especially if disabled colleagues or networks are involved) and then re-share on social media on 3rd December to help us celebrate the #PurpleLightUp. Find out more about Purple Tuesday here.

16. You use the language of 'disabled people' but I prefer to talk about myself and my colleagues as a person or people with disabilities. Is #PurpleLightUp still for me?

YOU BET IT IS. At PurpleSpace we talk about disabled employees in a social model context, for example, a member of staff is disabled where an inaccessible policy is a barrier to promotion or an inaccessible website is a barrier to recruitment.

We recognise that our members, allies and friends, particularly in other countries across the world, may not feel that this language reflects their experience of disability and so prefer to talk about people or employees with disabilities.

We encourage all members of the PurpleSpace community to talk about disability using the words and language which feel most authentic to you and to respect the choices of others knowing that we are working towards a common goal of inclusion, equality and celebration.

17. What happens after 3rd December?

If you have been moved by the #PurpleLightUp movement and want to learn from disabled employees who have learnt how to navigate the experience of ill health or disability while flourishing at work you can download our free resources.

  • Purple Stories - A guide with practical advice on why, when and how to share your story of disability at work for business and personal gain.
  • Purple Champions & Allies Guide - If you're a business leader or ally who would like advice on supporting the disabled people within your organisation then download our guide of top tips for meaningful change on disability.
  • Virtually Purple - Whether you are in work, or not, and want some tips on using social media to join the new global movement of employees with disabilities then download this free guide.

18. Can you recommend a charity that we can donate to following our #PurpleLightUp fundraising day?

We are so pleased to hear that you are raising funds while promoting a serious message about celebrating the economic inclusion of disabled people. There are a number of reputable charities and non-government agencies that support disabled people into work in the UK and across the world and we recommend that you do your homework to ensure that whichever charity you pick one that is lead and guided by disabled people as well as the right one for you to support. Two of the NGOs that we would recommend exploring are:

Shaw Trust


We would also recommend you take a look at International Disability Alliance website.

19. I've read through all of the information about #PurpleLightUp but I do not feel that it reflects my perspective or approach to empowerment as a disabled person. How do you respond to this?

WE HEAR YOU. #PurpleLightUp will not resonate with everyone and we respect the views of others who feel a greater need for disabled-led direct action. #PurpleLightUp is an authentically disabled-led movement but we work to educate allies to improve disability inclusion. We believe that we still need both approaches to drive meaningful change.

If you're a disabled employee who wants to help your employer organisation to build disability confidence from the inside-out, then get in touch with sally@purplespace.org to find out how to become a member.