Take a seat with new campaign to help elderly and disabled shop in Ashfield

Idlewells shopping centre played host to the launch of a new campaign to encourage elderly or disabled people to come shopping in Ashfield.

Council’s take a seat campaign wants shopkeepers and businesses to sign up to become age friendly, by providing seats and friendly conversation to elderly and disabled people.

Town Centre and Markets manager Trevor Middleton, Chloe ODonnell, Tracy Gee, Coun Deakin, Coun Jason Zadrozny and Coun John Handley

Town Centre and Markets manager Trevor Middleton, Chloe ODonnell, Tracy Gee, Coun Deakin, Coun Jason Zadrozny and Coun John Handley

Steve Smith, a community organiser with Nottinghamshire County Council said: “We want older people in our communities to have peace of mind that it is not a problem if they need to have a rest, or use the toilet when they are out shopping.

“Some are afraid to go out because they may become tired and need to sit down, or use the toilet.

“We want them to feel they are not a burden, and are welcome in shops and businesses.

“This scheme is all about inclusion, we want pregnant women and disabled people to feel welcome as well.”

Rob Bryant, a dementia champion with Nottinghamshire County Council who has spearheaded the campaign said: “Shops can join the scheme online, and they will get a sticker to put in their window to advertise that they are age friendly.

“They will have a seat in the shop, and some may offer a drink or use of their toilet.

“We post a free pack out to the shops as well, and we just ask that the public look out for the stickers and spread the word!”

Rob also delivers training to shopkeepers and business owners on dealing with customers who have dementia and their families.

Tracy Gee, owner of the Material Girl shop in Idlewells Shopping Centre signed to the scheme at the launch event.

Tracy feels that the scheme is incredibly important, as she has a disability herself.

Tracy said: “It’s massively important to me.

“Having a disability I do struggle with queues, and have always had seats available for my customers.

“Take a seat isn’t just about the elderly and disabled, it’s, for anyone that needs a rest out shopping.”

Councillor Samantha Deakin, Nottinghamshire County Councillor has recently been in hospital with blood clots on her lungs, and understands the importance of having somewhere to rest while out shopping.

Coun Deakin said: “Having somewhere to sit is a relief, and the seats are for anybody,. “Illnesses are not always visible.”

Councillor John Handley, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Committee said: “It’s important to encourage people in our communities to interact.

“A lot of mental health problems start with loneliness, and we want people to be able to step out, and have somewhere to rest.”