Let’s make retail accessible for Greater Manchester shoppers
Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council (SLC) attended a ‘talking shop’ event organised by the Arndale Shopping Centre to talk to retailers about what could be done to make retail more accessible for blind and partially sighted shoppers.
The event, held at the Roxy Ballroom in central Manchester, was for any retail, customer service, maintenance and security staff from the popular shopping centre. Arndale Shopping Centre invited Greater Manchester SLC along as one of the only external organisations.
SLCs across England are led by blind and partially sighted members. Together, they tackle local issues, and work with businesses and service providers to improve the accessibility of their services.
Greater Manchester SLC members chatted with representatives from a number of high street stores including Next, Superdry, The Body Shop and many more.
On meeting retailers, SLC members gave retailers the opportunity to try on simulation glasses to experience different eye conditions. They also asked staff for feedback around a ‘top tip for retailers’ resource which is being developed by Greater Manchester SLC.
Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager for the northwest, said:
“This was a fantastic opportunity for Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council to make a real difference with retailers. People really interacted and got involved. They were keen to try on simulation glasses and get a better understanding of what we face when out and about shopping.
“We are really looking forward to working with many of these retailers going forward with our plans to deliver visual impairment awareness training in store to their staff members.”
Sight Loss Council member, Rachael Foley, said:
“I think it’s great that Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre is working in partnership with the Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council. It’s so good to see such enthusiasm from the Arndale Centre and for them to really take on board the challenges and barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people.”
Mary Gilbertson, also on the Sight Loss Council, added:
“This event was a fabulous day of engagement for all involved. We had a real opportunity here to advocate for other blind and partially sighted people on how to make improvements – everyone wanted to find out more and you could just tell they wanted to make positive changes.”
Chris Smith, Marketing Manager at the Arndale Centre, tried on some simulation glassed. Whilst wearing the glasses he commented:
“I just find it really disorientating. I don’t feel like I could walk fast at all, and I can’t even imagine going shopping without somebody to help me.”
Publication date: 22 August 2022