023 8062 5533

West Quay Shopping Centre

Since the first day shoppers poured through the doors, back in September 2000, accessibility for all has been a major focus at WestQuay in Southampton. It is now established as one of the leading – and largest – shopping destinations on the South Coast, having received more than 120 million visitors since opening.

The commitment to welcoming visitors with specific access needs includes the physical and capital investment you would expect from a major retail centre, plus a comprehensive staff training programme. It has been rewarded with a clutch of awards and a record of satisfied customers.

All 70 directly-employed WestQuay staff, including a large team of customer service assistants and security staff, take part in Welcome All training. The centre’s strategy is to ensure support, assistance and advice are available during trading hours. WestQuay incorporates two department stores and 100 shops and catering units on a 33-acre site, covering 800,000 sq ft across three floors.

Accessibility is a corporate priority for owners Hammerson plc, a FTSE 100 company, which has been developing and managing exciting retail destinations and office buildings in Europe for more than 50 years.

Facilities and services at WestQuay include a comprehensive Shopmobility scheme with a unit in the centre, electronic way-finding for visually impaired people, induction loops for the hard of hearing throughout public mall areas, and 32 lifts around the building.

WestQuay Shopmobility manager, Debbie Mills, has 25+ years’ experience in the sector and is responsible for delivering Welcome All training to all WestQuay staff. Debbie said: “We thought it was very important to develop a culture where staff at all levels were confident and equipped to help, and understand that visitors can face many more barriers than physical issues – like being a wheelchair user.

“Welcome All has been very well received, with participants acquiring practical knowledge to help customers with hearing, sight and mobility impairments, with some staff going on to develop further skills in sign language. It has also given them confidence proactively to offer support to our customers.”

Success can be measured through growing visitor numbers, high customer satisfaction levels using ‘mystery shopper’ visits, and external recognition. In 2004, WestQuay received Destination Southampton’s ‘Services to Disability Award’ and it won the Southern Daily Echo’s ‘Access All Areas Readers’ Award’ in 2006. It was named the overall winner in the British Council of Shopping Centres ‘Achieving Customer Excellence Awards’ in 2007.

Debbie added: “We have definitely seen improvements in our customer service for visitors with additional needs over the past decade. Welcome All has really helped people understand accessibility issues – and to see where they can make a difference.”

Back to case studies
Brunel's SS Great Britain
Read more
Tatton Park
Read more
Powis Castle (National Trust)
Read more
Canal & River Trust
Read more
Faversham Town Council/Shepherd Neame Ltd
Read more
Video case studies
Read more
RSPB Leighton Moss
Read more
Bombay Sapphire
Read more
The University of Chichester
Read more
Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital
Read more
Stanley House Hotel
Read more
Black Diamond Umbrella and Accountancy Services
Read more
Trafford Hospital - Central Manchester University Hospitals
Read more
Museum of Cannock Chase
Read more
Welcome to Morecambe Bay
Read more
The Tour De France
Read more
West Marden Farm Accommodation
Read more
Bletchley Park
Read more
Staffordshire Ambassador programme
Read more
English Heritage
Read more
Metrobus
Read more
The Needles Park
Read more
intu Trafford Centre
Read more
Gatwick Airport
Read more
Bourne Leisure
Read more
West Quay Shopping Centre
Read more
University of Exeter - Hospitality Services
Read more
Wroxham Barns
Read more
Tyne and Wear Museums
Read more
Shugborough House
Read more
Imperial War Museum North - Disability Awareness
Read more
Imperial War Museum North
Read more
Hall Hill Farm
Read more
Denbies Vineyard and Wine Estate
Read more
Chichester Festival Theatre
Read more
Brooklands Museum
Read more
Cotswold Inns and Hotels Ltd
Read more
Centre Island Hotels
Read more

We’re here to help with all your training requirements

For more information on our courses, or to discuss your exact requirements, please get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Contact Us