Shopping centres are usually busy with crowds of people particularly around the festive season which can be a deterrent for some shoppers. Sensory events offer a more quiet experience within the retail setting where lights and noise are at a minimal to ensure the centre’s events are meeting the needs of the community in an inclusive way. The work that Grand Plaza shopping centre has been involved in has shown enhanced community participation with a growing sense of community cohesion present within the plaza and surrounding community.
Vicinity Centres’ Grand Plaza is a local community based centre doing some great things when it comes to tailoring programs and events to their community. Centre Manager, Martine Coorey said, “Our Christmas calendar began in November and continues until Christmas Eve with activities for everyone.”
“There was also a Quiet Santa photo day on 9 December held to ensure children with sensory needs had an opportunity to enjoy a visit with Santa with dimmed lighting and music,” said Coorey.
The Quiet Santa photo day was a great success. It was booked out with 20 families involved in the tailored community event.
Other events included an exclusive Christmas party for kids with a screening of ‘The Grinch’, charity gift wrapping and a Christmas Creche.
The free community movie screening today was part of Grand Plaza’s Christmas party which had more than 500 attendees joining the festivities to wrap up a special year. This success of the event demonstrates the strength in community Grand Plaza continues to play within the local area.
The Christmas program has been a huge success overall with families, children, local schools and community volunteers all playing a significant part in the activities in some way, shape or form.
Grand Plaza has a lot more on the cards for next year to continue to drive programs inclusive for everyone and being more than just a shopping mall by offering programs to create a thriving community hub.
Retailers at Grand Plaza are also opening stores outside of hours to cater to these specialised programs which is setting a fantastic example for other retail communities to get on board with.