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An inclusive shopping experience

#Group News
Recognising World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 is a time to highlight the initiatives we are implementing in our destinations to enhance the shopping experience for persons with autism, not just on this day, but all year round.

At Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, we strongly believe that creating an inclusive environment is vital to creating better places and better communities.

In our shopping centres, we are committed to ensuring that persons with autism feel welcome and at ease, by offering tailored services and facilities adapted to their needs. In line with our Better Places 2030 strategy, here are three initiatives launched around this year’s World Autism Awareness Day to build a more inclusive environment for all in our destinations.

  • A weekly silent hour is now observed in ten of our centres in France from 10 am to 11 am on Tuesdays. In order to provide a quieter shopping experience for people with autism spectrum disorder or misophonia, and more broadly for all visitors, our shopping centres are committing to dimming the lights in traffic aisles and turning off ambient music and audible announcements.

  • In the UK, Westfield London launched new sensory packs designed to support people living with a wide range of disabilities, who are likely to benefit from sensory resources to make their shopping experience more enjoyable. Developed in partnership with Ethos Farm, the packs contain items such as ear defenders and sunglasses to help with noise and light sensitivity, fidget toys to keep hands busy and relieve stress and feeling fans to express how you are feeling.

  • In Paris, Westfield Forum des Halles hosted a large photography exhibition on autism from April 2 to 9 titled "We are all different - 100 portraits to change the way we view autism”, organised with the charity association “Un pas vers la vie Autisme”. The 100 black-and-white portraits of people affected by autism, shot by the artist JR, are full of life, and accompanied by testimonies and statistics to encourage inclusion and raise visitors' awareness of autism in everyday life.