Last month’s Purple Tuesday – the UK’s first accessible shopping day – was a success, with over 700 companies including retailers and shopping centres around the country becoming Purple Tuesday supporters, committed to improving the shopping experience of disabled shoppers.

Following this, London Vision East took a small group of their blind and partially sighted members to Westfield Stratford City shopping centre on 27 November to test out the Concierge service.

For many visually impaired people visiting a busy shopping centre can be a difficult and stressful prospect, especially during busy shopping periods like Christmas! The Concierge service at Westfield Stratford is used by many shoppers, including those with disabilities. The group from London Vision East were particularly keen to learn about how the service helps aid blind and partially sighted people to shop with ease.  

The group members were paired up with a member of the Concierge team and escorted from shop to shop where they were further assisted by sales assistants. At the end of their shopping experience the group members shared their opinions of the service:

“It’s an excellent initiative and more shopping centres should follow. It gives blind and partially sighted people the opportunity to go shopping independently, relying less on family and friends to take them,” said Bhavini from Dagenham.

Tolga from Hackney liked the service but suggested that their time management could be improved. “The only thing I didn’t like is when you ring them up to come and collect you from one shop and take you to another, they don’t turn up on time.”

Overall, the Concierge service for people with visual impairments was deemed a success by all the members – they all managed to purchase something they wanted, and one member stayed behind to continue her shopping experience.

“Thank you London Vision East for taking me on this voyage. As an east Londoner living close to the shopping centre you guys have made it more accessible for me to use by showing me what’s possible,” said Daniel.

You can learn more about Westfield Stratford City’s Concierge service by visiting their website: https://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity/services/all-services.

Written by Raymond Calamaan