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Purple Tuesday: Promoting disability inclusion across our destinations

#Group News
On November 12, we are participating in the Purple Tuesday initiative and reaffirming our commitment to promote accessibility and support the inclusion of the disabled in our shopping centres.

Purple Tuesday is organised by Purple, a disability organisation aimed at helping businesses to develop their products and services for disabled people. Last year in the UK, 750 organisations answered Purple’s call to action to better understand the needs of their disabled customers, and collectively made over 1,500 commitments to put the right solutions in place. In 2019, the movement is spreading through several countries in Europe.

Purple Tuesday is a time to celebrate the changes we are implementing in our destinations to enhance the customer experience for disabled people, not just on November 12, but all year round. In line with our Better Places 2030 strategy, we have taken a series of measures towards inclusion across our regions:

We are conducting accessibility audits with local associations (e.g. the Westfield London Access Group) and taking appropriate actions: in Germany and Czech Republic, we have introduced tactile and Braille signage for visually impaired visitors, while Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City have implemented “quiet hours” when the centres’ music is turned off to support shoppers with autism. Meanwhile in France, Westfield Vélizy 2 is developing a specific service to help disabled visitors navigate the premises.

We are partnering with local NGOs to help train volunteers (e.g. wheelchair assistants at Westfield Chodov, service dogs at Rennes Alma) and advance the employability of disabled people (e.g. Westfield London partnered with Action on Disability, and led a special work experience programme with a local school for autistic students).

Our shopping centres regularly host events to raise awareness and promote inclusion, such as Maquina’t – held for the 7th edition at La Maquinista (Barcelona) on November 8.

In addition, dedicated trainings will be provided in the next 12 months to every employee working in direct contact with visitors. The aim is to help our staff better understand the diverse nature of disability (including hidden or invisible impairments), identify situations where specific assistance might be needed, devise suitable responses and adopt appropriate behaviours.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s involvement with Purple Tuesday illustrates our determination to make positive contributions to the well-being of our communities. We see ourselves as leaders of change, using our assets and collective strength to raise awareness, mobilise and provide spaces where people feel they belong.