MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre have just become the South East’s first Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Friendly Shopping Centre. The centre management team along with car park, cleaning, security team and 15 retail groups all undertook training provided by Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, to increase their awareness of the barriers that both adults and children with invisible disabilities can face. The Centre will now provide Sunflower lanyards at the Customer Service Desk which will allow those wearing one to discreetly indicate to people around them including staff, colleagues, and health professionals that they may need additional support, help or a little more time.
Assistant Centre Manager, Donna Byrne spoke of the Centre’s vision to become an inclusive retail space for everyone: “we have always endeavoured to provide an inclusive space for all of the people of Kilkenny and anyone who comes to visit our city. There are always new opportunities to learn and improve, as we encounter customers who are facing challenges that we ourselves, haven’t had to personally deal with. Over the past number of years, we have been proudly recognised as the first age friendly shopping centre in Ireland introducing initiatives such as age friendly parking spaces for ease of accessibility, our over 60s discount club, additional seating and our teams have undertaken dementia awareness training.
In addition to these initiatives, we have also installed our baby feeding room, a height adjustable changing bench, wheelchair loan service and most recently the introduction of our autism friendly shopping hours. The impact these small changes have made to the lives of our customers has been tenfold and it’s been amazing to hear the positive feedback we have received off the back of these initiatives. We’re proud to be offering Sunflower lanyards at the Customer Service Desk. Not all disabilities are visible, and it’s evident that a subtle gesture can make a big difference”.
Paul White, CEO, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower said “We are delighted that MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre have joined the global Sunflower network as part of their commitment to be an inclusive shopping space. Sunflower wearers with non-visible disabilities will be able to enjoy their retail experience knowing that they will be recognised and supported by staff on their visit with kindness, understanding and patience.”
About the Sunflower
• Wearing the Sunflower lanyard enables individuals to discreetly indicate that they have a non-visible disability and may need additional assistance, kindness, or simply a little more time.
• Since the Sunflower was established in the UK in 2016, it has been adopted globally by organisations to support their colleagues and customers. The Sunflower is recognised across a broad range of sectors – ranging from retail, financial services, transport including over 140 airports, travel and tourism, education as well as healthcare, emergency service and entertainment.
• The Sunflower is available globally and has been launched locally in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
• The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is part of Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme Limited, a private company based in the UK
• For further information please contact: Membershipemail@example.com or visit hiddendisabilitiesstore.com