Tauranga's Bayfair Shopping Centre has won an award for its accessibility in public spaces programme at the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) Marketing Awards. The award includes a prize of $2500, which Bayfair will donate to the Omanu Surf Life Saving Club.
The awards give shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to be recognised. Bayfair was awarded under the community category, one of five in the awards, which drew a record 172 entries.
"The Shopping Centre Council of Australia is pleased to be recognising Bayfair Shopping Centre for its contribution to its local communities," said council executive director Angus Nardi.
"Bayfair's efforts with regard to accessibility are commendable. The centre obviously listened to and engaged with its community, and made adjustments to suit its needs. The campaign obviously stood out to the judging panel and it has been rewarded."
Bayfair was the first centre to undergo the national social change organisation Be. Accessible's accessibility assessment, securing the top rating of platinum. It was also the first shopping centre to install parking spaces for dogs, and charging facilities for electric vehicles and mobility scooters.
Other improvements have included access-friendly updates to the website, including ensuring all images and photos on the website have alternative text.
Michelle Smith, general manager of Omanu Surf Life Saving Club, said the club was grateful Bayfair chose it to receive the prize money.
"The money that we are receiving was awarded to the centre for being the most accessible shopping centre, so by its very nature, it feels right to use that money for a similar use at our club."
Earlier this year, Bayfair donated $2000 to a Givealittle page for funds towards a special wheelchair equipped to get Josh Laforteza, a young Tauranga teen with cerebral palsy, onto the beach.
"We have been discussing beach accessibility options, looking into innovative products that will make access across sand and into water much easier, such as beach mats," said Bayfair marketing manager Kylie McGregor.
"We are so grateful that we have not only been recognised for our efforts through this award, but that we can put the prize money towards continuing our region's accessibility journey."
-Around 25 per cent of the New Zealand population at any one time is estimated to have accessibility issues.