Published 31 May 2011
Designer dining for hungry babes
HUNGRY babies at The Trafford Centre are being treated to a “designer dining” option – thanks to a bright idea dreamed up by staff.
The main breast-feeding suite at the shopping centre has just reopened after a £2000 make-over from home specialist Laura Ashley, following parents comments that the old facility was too “clinical”.
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Gordon McKinnon, director of operations at the Centre, said: “Our customer feedback showed us that parents wanted something a little more homely in which to feed their babies – something softer and more suitable for very young shoppers.
“We put the issue to our staff, who cleverly suggested we go straight to the experts and ask one of our designer stores to adopt the room, and deck it out in the latest seasonal trends, in colours and styles that would relax our customers.
“The design team at Laura Ashley loved the idea, and their research and mood-boards showed us which elements would be most impactive - while still being hard-wearing enough for a room that is visited many times per day.
“They opted for brand new wallpaper and paint, and comfortable new furniture, following a teal green theme. We also chose an attractive mirror to make the space appear larger.
“This could well be one of the best-designed baby feed rooms in a UK shopping centre!”
A plaque on the wall of the room explains that the look was inspired by Laura Ashley’s designs.
Customer and new mum Nicola Hayes brought 5-month old Darby Rose Hayes to try out the room for size.
Says Nicola: "I've always thought the breastfeeding friendly policy of the Centre was fab - there aren't many places with such a positive attitude to breastfeeding taking place anywhere on the premises, including cafes and restaurants.
"That said, confidence can be quite low when trying to get breastfeeding off to a good start, and the Laura Ashley room is perfect for making feeding easy - it's relaxing, comfortable, private, and not at all like a toilet as most feeding rooms are! In fact, the new Laura Ashley decor makes it totally gorgeous!
"It can be a nightmare feeding a baby with a toddler in tow, and it's great being able to relax and feed knowing that my 3 year old will be in a safe environment. Loads of mums stop breastfeeding because they are afraid to feed in public, and facilities like this take the pressure off mums and let them have a moment with their baby without worrying about the rest of the world - a swanky little oasis for mum and baby!
"I'd really recommend the Trafford Centre as being totally family friendly - I honestly wouldn't shop anywhere else."
The workers who conceived the idea have also been rewarded in the Centre’s Bright Ideas award scheme, which rewards staff for ingenious ideas that improve the customer experience.
“This project could be the first of many similar schemes for our baby feed rooms, as it allows our huge range of homes retailers to show off what they do best,” added McKinnon.
“As regular winners of the Loo of the Year Award, plus countless awards for our baby feeding facilities, it’s important that we stay one step ahead by looking at fresh ways to improve the experience for everyone – even the three-month olds!”
The Centre boasts four baby feed facilities, which are mainly used by breast-feeding mums who require privacy away from other diners.
A million mums
More than a million mums with babies use The Trafford Centre every year, attracted by the family-friendly facilities like the crèche, the Passport to Safety initiative, and family stores like Mamas & Papas, Laura Ashley, Selfridges and John Lewis.
Added McKinnon: “The Centre is already an NHS approved breast-feeding venue, and we are given plaudits from mums all the time for our welcoming policy on breast-feeding.
“But we don’t think it’s enough to simply provide a space; just like the rest of the Centre, it needs to be a relaxing and inspiring space.”
The Trafford Centre has traditionally supported National Breast Feeding Awareness Week with activities and awareness-driving.
Customer Services at the Centre are advising mum’s interested in the issues around breast-feeding to get advice from their midwife, or try NHS Choices, the National Breastfeeding Helpline, or the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Trafford Centre has been a regular winner of the National Loo Of The Year Awards, and facilities are graded 5 Star under the organisations judging criteria.
- Loo of the Year has also commended The Trafford Centre for their Family Friendly facilities.
- Laura Ashley is one of the UK’s leading homewares retailers, with a 3,420 sq ft Trafford Centre store located in Barton Square, the £90m extension to The Trafford Centre.
- National Breastfeeding Awareness Week ran from 19th to 25th June 2011.
The Trafford Centre is owned and operated by Capital Shopping Centres Group PLC (CSC) a FTSE 100 company and the UK’s leading shopping centre owner. CSC owns 14 centres– four of which are ranked in the Top 6 in the UK and 10 in the Top 25. With a portfolio that includes both in town and out of town shopping centres including Trafford Centre, Manchester; Lakeside, Thurrock; Metrocentre, Gateshead; Braehead, Glasgow and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, Bristol – and nine in-town centres including centres in prime destinations such as Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Nottingham, CSC attracts more than 300 million shoppers a year to its centres.