BIG Group Announced a Nationwide Move in It's Shopping Centers, of an Adapted Shopping Environment for Children and Adults With Sensory and Neurological Diversity.
By Noa Faran
Every first Sunday of each month, BIG Shopping Centers will operate in a “quiet center” mode the screens will be off, the intensity of the lights, announcements and beeps will be dimmed, and the center staff will be ready to assist and support if needed.
For the first time in Israel: A leading chain of shopping centers and malls undertake the challenge of making it accessible to a population with special needs and considering their wellbeing. BIG Shopping Centers, which operates 27 open malls across Israel, that attract more than 150,000 visitors every day, will operate it’s centers nationwide on the first Sunday of each month in a “quiet center” mode.
For a population with sensory and neurological diversity, music, noise, dazzling lights and flickering screens in busy human shopping centers pose a great load of stimuli that can cause distress and anxiety and affect them physically and mentally. This causes adults or children with this type of sensitivity, to avoid most of the entertainment experience and, of course, also affects their family members who are most often prevented from going to recreation and shopping complexes with them.
As part of the “quiet center”, all BIG centers will shut down their announcement, music and screens every month for 4 hours, moderating the volume of the lights and beeps. A guided staff that can be contacted for help regarding the quiet shopping environment will be available, plus the service and measurement chambers will be shared by the whole family.
The Extraordinary Initiative is in collaboration with and consulting the “Safe Place” venture led by Or Alterman and Sharon Gavrielov, and the Autism Treatment and Research Center. Yasmin Elad, BIG’s Corporate Responsibility Manager, points out that “quiet center” will operate regularly from now on, out of an understanding of the sensitivity required for a diverse population. “We decided to enlist for the people and families who need a customized shopping environment like breathable air. These are people with higher sensory regulation and a higher diversity threshold than an average person who, like us all sometimes, enjoy some quiet and calm in the shopping and entertainment centers as well. We have full cooperation from our tenants, leading local and international brands, who were inspired by the initiative and will take an active part in adjusting their stores as well.”
Quiet center will operate every first Sunday of the month between 4-8 PM.