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Supporting our communities

communities

Supporting our communities

Our assets are located in communities across the UK and play an integral role in the lives of our customers. We aim to enrich lives and strengthen communities through meeting the needs of all our customers and supporting and championing local causes.
 

Our charity partnership with the Trussell Trust

Our corporate charity partnership with the Trussell Trust began in June 2019. The Trussell Trust’s vital work supports over 1,200 food banks across the UK, while campaigning to ensure everyone can afford their own food. As the pandemic unfolds, more people than ever are expected to need a food bank.

Since we started our partnership the Company has donated close to £100,000 to support its efforts. In addition, our staff have volunteered at Trussell Trust sites, food collection points have been installed across our shopping centre portfolio, and our assets have been made available for storage, awareness campaigns and volunteer recruitment.

In light of the very significant impact that COVID-19 has had on people across the country, we announced in April 2020 that our Board of Directors would be waiving 20% of their base salaries or fees for three months and donating these to the Trussell Trust.
 

Making our centres autism-friendly

There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK, and trips to the shops can be stressful for autistic adults and children. Frustration or anxiety can be caused by not knowing why we need to shop or what will happen when shopping, and a person can be overwhelmed by sensory experiences in retail destinations. NewRiver is a proud participant in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour initiative, ensuring centres and their occupiers adapt their environments to make autistic shoppers more comfortable and to reduce sensory overload, including:
  • Turning down music, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise
  • Dimming or switching off lights where it is safe to do so
  • Training employees to understand autism and how they can help
  • Raising public awareness of autism and collecting feedback
Launched in 2017, the Autism Hour campaign is run every October and the National Autistic Society encourages businesses to run their own Autism Hour regularly through the year. NewRiver had 16 centres participate in the 2018 campaign, and over half of these now run a regular Autism Hour throughout the year. A number of our centres have also produced pre-visit sensory guides, which can make the shopping experience more comfortable for those suffering from autism
 
Autism Impact Award for the Abbey Centre, Belfast
In October 2018, the Abbey Centre, Belfast was recognised with an Autism Impact Award from Autism NI for its efforts to make the centre a more autism-friendly environment.
Abbey Centre Impact Award October 2018
 

Tackling loneliness amongst the elderly

Most people will feel lonely at some points in their lives, but for a growing number of people, particularly those in later life, loneliness can have a significant impact on their wellbeing. According to Age UK, the UK has 3.6 million older people living alone, of whom 2 million are aged 75+. In association with Age UK and other elderly charities, a number of our centres – including The Forum in Wallsend, Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in Hastings and Hillstreet Shopping Centre in Middlesbrough – host regular events for old people promoting friendship and providing activities.
 
The Ridings Centre in Wakefield hosts a monthly ‘Cuppa Club’, a free monthly meet-up, with events including afternoon tea, live music, dancing, craft activities and more. In May 2018, the centre won a prestigious Golden Apple Award for its work on Cuppa Club, which was commended by the judges for tackling a national issue with a simple yet effective campaign.
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Showcasing local creative talent

We work with a range of national arts-based charities, in co-operation with The Arts Council, Charities Commission and the Local Government Association, to use empty spaces across our portfolio as a platform for local artists. This includes use of units for exhibition and gallery space, workshops, temporary studios, performance spaces and even just for storage of artworks. As part of the agreement, the charities take liability for the business rates on each unit and NewRiver covers any shortfall not covered by charity business rates relief. In addition, NewRiver makes a monthly charitable donation to the charities.