Merlin Entertainments is the first company in the leisure sector to join the Valuable 500, a global initiative to promote disability inclusion in business.

The Valuable 500 was launched by disability activist Caroline Casey at the World Economic Forum in Davos In January.

The initiative commits businesses joining to table disability on board agendas from 2019, make at least one firm commitment to action and share its commitment to the Valuable 500 internally and externally.

Nick Varney, chief executive at Merlin Entertainments said: “By joining The Valuable 500, we want to encourage our business partners and other industry leaders to get involved and discover how different thinking and innovation can drive change to the benefit of their organisations and everyone associated with them.”

Merlin says inclusivity is already on its board agendas and it will be committing to education and training for customer-facing staff serving its guests with disabilities, encouraging people with disabilities to join as employees, inclusive design in the development of new attractions, a continued roll out of accessible toilets, and to actively review customer feedback to inform and influence innovations.

Caroline Casey, founder of the Valuable 500 said: “The leisure sector is a core element within the global economy with responsibility for creating happy memories worldwide – and is a crucial industry to spread the message of inclusion. We are delighted to welcome Merlin Entertainments to the Valuable 500 cohort, as they become the first business from this sector to join the initiative and raise their voice on this vital issue.

“We are really excited to see Merlin Entertainments embracing the move towards a more inclusive society for all, and urge other businesses from the leisure sector to follow in their footsteps and put an end to ‘diversish’ behaviour.”