‘Take a seat’ scheme launched to make Mansfield and Beeston more accessible for older shoppers

Cllr Gordon Wheeler
Cllr Gordon Wheeler

A scheme to make town centres in Nottinghamshire more accessible for older people is being launched in Beeston and Mansfield this month.

Age Friendly Nottinghamshire’s ‘Take a Seat’ campaign wants more shops, businesses and meeting places to have a seat available in case an older person needs to rest while they’re out shopping.

The scheme will be officially launched in Beeston on May 14, and Mansfield on May 21, and it aims to raise awareness of how older people can struggle to access their local area if there isn’t enough seating available for them to rest.

Advice will be provided on how to make premises more age friendly, such as making sure the floor is level and clutter free to prevent trips and slips, lighting is clear and bright, steps have a handrail, products on shelves are within easy reach, toilets are provided where possible and that any music is played at a moderate level.

A ‘We are Age Friendly’ sticker will be displayed in all shops and premises taking part in the initiative, to reassure older shoppers that they will be given a warm welcome and offered a chair to have a sit and rest.

The first businesses to sign up to the scheme are Boots in Beeston and Debenhams in Mansfield.

A third of older people say they are lonely, which can lead to depression and mental decline.

Many become isolated because they find it increasingly difficult to walk from their homes to local shops and community venues, and a lack of seating for them can be a significant barrier to them leaving their home.

Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council and Age Friendly Ambassador for Nottinghamshire, said: “Simple initiatives like this can really make a difference to people’s lives. We are passionate about helping older people and people with disabilities to stay independent and connected to their communities - the Take a Seat initiative will help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation by ensuring older people can still get out and about.”

He added: “We have had a very promising response from businesses so far and I would encourage more shops to take this simple step to provide great service for older customers.”

The campaign also wants to help retailers, as annual high street losses of £4.5bn are predicted by 2030 if retailers fail to attract and retain older customers.

Take a Seat is free to sign up to for businesses and will be rolled out to other areas of the county over the next two years.

To find out more, please call 0115 977 4438 or visit the website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/takeaseat