intu shopping centres and Henshaws team up to make shopping more accessible

Last week, our Newcastle centre trained staff at the shopping centre intu Metrocentre and intu Eldon Square to be VI friendly and improve the experience for blind and visually impaired customers.

intu Metrocentre, the UK’s largest shopping centre, and Eldon Square commissioned Henshaws to specially train their staff on how to support a blind shopper as part of our Visual Impairment Awareness Training (VIAT); a practical and engaging training session, aimed at helping people understand the needs and concerns of people living with a visual impairment.

During the course, the centres’ staff members were shown how to guide someone around the building and support someone up and down stairs, and one member of staff even demonstrated their newfound training with the centre manager afterwards!

We were delighted to help the shopping centres increase their ability to support customers and colleagues living with a visual impairment. Shopping can be a daunting task when you’re visually impaired, but having the option for a shopping assistant will make a real difference to people in Newcastle.”

Philippa Taylor, Community Services Development Officer

The shopping centres are piloting a free shopping assistant service scheme to blind and visually impaired customers with Henshaws’ service users, before launching the programme for the general public in January.

To access the service, Newcastle service users can simply get in touch in advance to arrange for a volunteer or staff member to meet them and assist them round the store by ringing Philippa on 0191 275 9417. From January 2018, this service is available for the general public by emailing Clare Cannon at

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