As the Technology Officer at ELVis I tend to write about technology for the blog. This month, however, I’ve written about a recent shopping experience.
Most readers will be aware that Stratford, East London is home to one of the largest shopping centres in Europe which is a popular shopping destination for millions of Londoners and tourists. Getting to Westfield Stratford City is very easy. By public transport the nearest train station is Stratford which is also served by a number of local bus routes. Additionally, there is lots of parking if you’re being driven there.
Generally, people with no useful vision for reading or getting around, such as myself, would view a large shopping centre like Westfield with real fear. In my experience, shopping centres are constantly busy with shoppers so it’s difficult to get around. Moreover, the same background music is played all over the shopping centre so there’s little in the way of audio clues as to what is around you. And I’ve come to realise that navigation equipment that relies on GPS satellites is of limited or no use in large shopping centres.
At Westfield Stratford City, one of the great features available to the public is the Concierge service. This allows a person with little or no sight to go to the Concierge desk and ask for assistance to take them to one of Westfield’s many shops, restaurants and facilities. More than often they will wait with you if you’re only buying one or two items. However, if you’re planning on spending hours shopping or dining at a restaurant, then the Concierge staff will make sure you’re given the phone number for the Concierge desk so you can phone for assistance when you’re ready to leave.
I’ve used this service well over 20 times and I must say it’s extremely helpful as it has saved me from wandering around Westfield and getting lost. Also, even when the shopping centre has been really busy, such as during Christmas, I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes for assistance.
In my opinion, the Concierge service for vision impaired people turns a difficult and stressful situation into a relatively hassle-free shopping trip. I just wish more shopping centres across the country would adopt this similar service.
For more information about their Concierge service for people with visual impairments, please visit: https://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity/services/all-services/visual-impairment/711
Written by Graham Page