Stockland has continued its commitment to creating inclusive places for the community, today opening two dedicated Quiet Rooms at Stockland Shellharbour shopping centre ahead of International Day of People with Disability, on Saturday 3rd December.
Anna Watson MP, Member for Shellharbour and Councillor Peter Moran, Shellharbour City Council, together with local community groups joined a morning tea and tour of the new facilities to mark the opening.
The Quiet Rooms are designed to create a safe place for parents, carers and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), providing a calm, low sensory environment, which can be used as a retreat away from the busy shopping centre.
Stockland collaborated with local mum, Sharleen Treuer, on the initiative after she spoke of the challenges she has experienced personally shopping with her sons. The room features heat sensitive play screens, tactile wall panels, sensory wall coverings, bean bag and dimmable sparkle lights.
The two rooms have been given the themes of ‘Cuddly Clouds’ and ‘Among the Trees’, with one located on the ground floor near Coles, and the other on the top floor near Ripcurl.
Stockland Centre Manager, Glenn Cochrane, said: “We are delighted to open our new Quiet Rooms today in time for the busy Christmas period, and coinciding with International Day of People with Disability.”
“With 8 million customers visiting Stockland Shellharbour every year, these rooms are a one small but significant initiative in making our shopping centre more inclusive for all customers to enjoy.”
Anna Watson MP, Member for Shellharbour, said: “I congratulate Stockland on listening to their customers and the community to find ways to make the shopping centre more inclusive. It is important we all work together to remove the barriers experienced by the four million Australians with disability, so they can have the same access and opportunities that we do.”
In September this year, Stockland Shellharbour opened a new Touched By Olivia all-inclusive playground, for children of all abilities, as part of the $5 million development of The Avenue dining precinct.
The playground has an ‘under the sea’ theme and includes a number of important features to allow all children to play together, including those with physical disabilities, vision, hearing and mobility impairments, or spectrum disorders such as autism. The playground includes a wheelchair accessible carousel, sensory and tactile play spaces for discovery and learning, and casual seating for everyone to relax and enjoy.
Touched by Olivia Executive Officer, Bec Ho, said: “Facilities such as these Quiet Rooms are so important for the children, the parents and the whole community. Many people with sensory disorders would love to go shopping but find it very traumatic because of the sensory overload a shopping centre will give — its light, its movement, its noises. So to be able to come to a room like this and just chill out, both adults and children alike, will give them that relief making shopping a much less stressful experience.”
Glenn Cochrane continued, “At Stockland, we are focused on creating communities that thrive, where people want to shop, work and play and where people feel a sense of belonging. Creating a sense of belonging is only possible by fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion.”