Tue, 13/11/2018 - 10:11
Research from Hammerson reveals that 95 per cent of the British public agree that shopping centres should cater for all shoppers and provide an accessible environment.
The research highlights that 90 per cent of the British public believe that shopping centres play an important role within local communities and for carers and disabled consumers, creating a welcoming space is particularly significant. 67 per cent of carers say that shopping helps them to feel part of the community (versus a national average of 55 per cent), and three quarters say that interactions with other people when shopping are good for their mental health (compared to a 71 per cent national average).
As part of its work to address this significant issue, today, 13 November 2018, Hammerson is participating in Purple Tuesday – the UK’s first accessible shopping day, established to embed inclusive shopping and recognise the importance and needs of all consumers.
At The Oracle, in Reading, Hammerson has introduced the ‘Safe Space Scheme’, which aims to help people with disabilities to feel confident and calm while visiting the centre by offering a range of specialised services, including: special assistance while shopping inside stores; providing a guide to help shoppers and carers around the centre; or simply providing a temporary safe haven to sit in a quiet location.
Local community groups, including Reading Dementia, Action Alliance, AGE UK, Reading CIC and Autism Berkshire, are supporting the scheme. Reading is also the town within Hammerson’s shopping centre portfolio with the greatest demand for accessible and disabled-friendly facilities according to its recent research.
So far at The Oracle, 14 brands have registered for the Safe Space Scheme, including Lakeland, TM Lewin and Starbucks.
Hammerson is also trialling a number of different initiatives to assess the most impactful long-term measures to deliver a positive experience for the disabled community, their families and carers.
Mark Bourgeois, Managing Director UK & Ireland for Hammerson, says: “It is vital that our retail destinations make the shopping and leisure experience as welcoming as possible for all our customers. We know from research by the Department for Work and Pensions that shopping, eating and drinking out, is one of the top three most difficult experiences for disabled people based on accessibility. This shouldn’t be the case and we hope the initiatives we’re trialling demonstrate that much more can be done on Purple Tuesday and beyond.”
Mike Adams, CEO of Purple, adds: “We’re delighted that Hammerson is supporting the Purple Tuesday campaign to promote better accessibility for disabled shoppers. This is a collaborative campaign that extends far beyond one day, and it’s vital that retail organisations come together to make shopping more pleasurable and efficient for everyone.”
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