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Supporting our communities


Supporting our communities

As part of our commitment to being good neighbours and supporting local causes, our community shopping centres, conveniently-located retail parks and community pubs make significant contributions to their communities. Alongside local fundraising, NewRiver contributes to a number of charities at a corporate level, including through our partnership with the Trussell Trust and our annual ‘Way of the Roses’ challenge, raising thousands of pounds for local causes.

Our charity partnership with the Trussell Trust

In June 2019 we announced our first corporate charity partnership with the Trussell Trust, an organisation that aims to end hunger and poverty in the UK. The Trussell Trust supports more than 1,200 food banks across the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food to people in need, as well as providing support to help people resolve the challenges they face. In 2018-19, food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network provided 1.6 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis. More than 550,000 of these went to children.

Through this partnership, NewRiver will join a number of leading UK retailers and consumer goods companies who already support the Trussell Trust. Our support will entail financial support at a corporate level and from fundraising at its community shopping centres and community pubs, as well as identifying local opportunities to use our assets for storage, donation drop-off points, awareness campaigns and volunteer recruitment.

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.

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.

Supporting communities from the rooftops

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Prospect Centre in Hull has introduced a rooftop allotment and bee-keeping facilities to house a colony of honey bees.

The rooftop allotment has grown rapidly from the initial ten plots it boasted on launch four years ago and now requires a workforce of volunteers to tend to it and the greenhouse that the centre has installed in its service yard. Prospect Centre has partnered with The Work Company, a regional agency that helps people who are struggling to find employment by providing new skills and support.

The centre has donated the fruit and vegetables to Hull HARP, a homelessness charity. The colony of honey bees on the roof is a first for Hull city centre and has now produced its first jars of honey. The hives also act as an educational facility for local school children to learn more about the nature of bees.