11th August 2020
New World Pukekohe celebrates community diversity with new Additional Needs programme
New World Pukekohe has launched its new Additional Needs programme to create a more inclusive store environment for all shoppers. The Additional Needs programme offerings are available 24/7 for shoppers, but for four days a week from Monday-Thursday 2.30pm-5.30pm, the store will dedicate this time to soften the in-store environment so all shoppers, regardless of their abilities, feel welcome and safe.
- Trolleys to cater for a wide range of situations including trolleys for the active child to use themselves, a fun mobile for high sensory engagement, trolleys for parents with multiples, trolleys for parents with new-borns/capsules, a trolley to connect to a wheelchair frame and a Caroline Cart which is a capable of taking and securing a person up to 115kg.
- ‘Call Points’ throughout the store allowing you to press for assistance. One of our friendly team will respond to you and assist at times when you may need extra support or are just looking for that hard to find product.
- Our team members are able to communicate with basic sign language and will continue developing their skills.
- We understand that loud children are not naughty children and that they are likely just expressing how they are feeling; our team will celebrate with them.
- If you have mobility or sight issues our team will be there to assist with any part of your shop that they can.
- If you are independent but have additional cognitive needs, we will be available to help you. Our team are familiar with the type of picture aides or tablets you may have with you and will gladly assist.
- If you are just having ‘one of those days’ and need us to help bring a trolley to the car when you arrive, give us a call and we will be more than happy to do whatever we can to make things easier.
- Our team can offer all the above every hour we are open, but the full low sensory environment will be from 2.30pm – 5.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
We want our Additional Needs programme to grow and as we learn more about what we can do to support you, we will train our teams, develop our ways of working and make this the best possible environment to shop. We look forward to offering you and your loved ones a safe and inclusive environment that supports your individual situation.
“We’ve only been open for about nine months, but have been thinking about what this programme might look like since day one,” says Tim Wilson, New World Pukekohe owner operator. “We’ve worked closely with community groups and listened to what their specific needs are so that the programme reflects what they need, when they need it. Our goal is to provide an inclusive, safe shopping experience for every single customer.”
The store has installed new equipment and staff have learned new skills in order to support individuals with mobility, cognitive, sight or hearing impairments.
“We now have a fully adjustable lux control panel to ensure all store lighting is set to an optimum level for individuals with heightened sensitivities – we aren’t just turning a light switch off and on,” says Wilson. “Throughout the store design process, we also tried removing as much of the colour red as possible, which can be a trigger to those on the autistic spectrum, and we’ll also turn off music and checkout noises during the dedicated timeframe.”
Store staff have also learned basic sign language so they can greet and have a basic level of conversation with hard-of-hearing customers. The store has also added new trolleys to its fleet to simplify manoeuvring around the store: trolleys for kids, trolleys for parents with multiple kids, trolleys which clip onto the frame of wheelchairs and Caroline’s Carts. Caroline’s Carts are designed to provide additional needs customers and their families with a viable option to transport a child (with a weight capacity up to 115 kgs) while they do their grocery shop.
Additionally, the store has installed ‘call points’ throughout the store for individuals who need help finding a product or for customers who need support to finish their shopping.
“We are humbled and thrilled with New World Pukekohe’s new Additional Needs programme,” says Karen Callaghan, Founder of Kaleidocare, a Pukekohe-based inclusive community service group. “This programme goes above and beyond anything else that is out there in New Zealand to cater for those who need just a bit of extra support or resources so they can get on and do their shop with ease.”
Wilson says the store will continue to refine the programme and is eager to hear feedback from the community so they can keep growing the offering to suit what customers need.
"We found through our customer research that a one-hour quiet hour is too limiting or not enough for our additional needs customers,” says Wilson. “The more flexibility we can provide for our customers, the better experience they’ll have.”