Creating community hubs

We know that our consumers and communities are looking for more than just a shopping experience. They are looking for destinations where they can connect with others and fulfil their lifestyle needs.

Through our strategy to create market leading destinations, we strive to ensure that our centres reflect the wants and needs of their local communities and incorporate social integration considerations into the design, construction, leasing and operation of our centres.

Vicinity’s leasing strategy is focused on moving our tenant mix to higher demand categories that reflect changing consumer preferences. As a result, offerings at our centres are enhanced with greater café and dining options, cinemas and entertainment, and indoor and outdoor events to create a social experience that caters to our local communities. Our diversified tenant mix also supports consumers’ health and wellbeing through the provision of services such as gyms, medical centres, physiotherapists, insurance companies/offices and various community service providers.  

We also focus on offering enjoyable experiences for families to make visiting our centres hassle-free through the inclusion of parents’ rooms, many with baby changing and private feeding facilities, as well as children’s play areas and seasonal programs for school children.

Accessibility and inclusion is a priority across our portfolio, with many of our centres including disabled parking and amenities (such as Changing Places High Care facilities and high tables in food courts for wheelchair access), and wheelchairs for use within the centre.

Images on right: Markets at Roselands Shopping Centre (top) and Parents room (bottom) at the Glen (VIC)

Case study: More inclusive play

In FY20 we continued our efforts to make our shopping centres inclusive spaces where everyone feels welcome.

Our redevelopment at The Glen included spaces to accommodate for children engaging in active play as well as passive play spaces to enable more inclusive play, with table heights designed to be accessible and accommodate wheelchairs and quieter options for children on the autism spectrum.

National Design Manager, Sara Brims said “We designed spaces to be fun and inviting for children of all ages and abilities. Whether it’s climbing the ropes or tackling the wooden bead maze, we hope that there are options to delight every child”.

Case study: Changing Places and Adult High Care

Changing Places are separate bathroom facilities which include height adjustable adult-sized changing tables and a tracking hoist for children and adults with disabilities who require changing tables.

We aim to provide dedicated Changing Places bathrooms as part of our facilities upgrades wherever we can. However, where space restrictions exist and we’re unable to offer two separate accessible bathrooms, we may install the adult-sized changing table in the accessible washroom.

We’ve recently installed a dedicated Changing Places facilities at Chadstone in August 2019. The upgrades also include important new facilities for customers with a disability with a full size Changing Places table and electric hoist.

Glen Atwell is a local councillor in the City of Stonnington and the parent of a daughter, Ivy who has a rare genetic condition and spoke about the difference that a Changing Places bathroom made to families like his. 

“When children with profound disabilities outgrow the standard baby change table, the parents and carers need to change their

nappy on the either floor or go back to the car to change them in the boot or back seat,” he explained.

“A Changing Places bathroom provides much more dignity so that children like Ivy don’t need to be changed on the floor of a toilet,”

“Australia’s leading shopping centre is now more accessible and inclusive than ever before. Thank you, Vicinity for investing in Changing Places. Thank you for giving people the confidence to know they can go the bathroom with dignity”.

Case study: Weekly mall walking

A number of our centres are located in catchments where seniors (aged 60+) make up a significant proportion of the population.

Mall walking for seniors is a popular activity offered at many of our centres, including Mornington Central, The Glen, Midland Gate, Mildura Central, Mandurah Forum, Grand Plaza and Broadmeadows Central. 

Mall walking provides a safe indoor environment for our older community members to get moving, and is often combined with a series of light exercises such as stretches and squats, which help our senior customers stay healthy and active.

Catching up for coffee afterwards helps them connect with their friends, family and the community – an important contributor to social inclusion and high quality of life. 

Some of our centres have long running programs that offer a range of social activities in addition to mall walking.

The Mornington Central Mall Walking Group has been going strong for 11 years with around 90 active members aged from their 50s to mid 80s. A trained leader takes the groups through strengthening and balancing exercises and the group loves to chat as well as walk. They enjoy coffee afterwards as well as excursions such as Devonshire tea, lunches and movies together.

Volunteer Joan says “It’s important for older people to keep active and the group is so friendly, welcoming and help each other during times of difficulty. We’ve got a great group, we get 40 or 50 walkers each week and always have a coffee afterwards. It’s a great way to meet new people no matter what your fitness level”.

Our broader economic and community impacts

Our portfolio of centres generate a number of direct and indirect economic benefits for our local communities.

  • As a large local employer, both directly and indirectly, our centres are important hubs for driving local economic activity and play an important part in building the prosperity of our communities;
  • Our community investment program, focused on alleviating youth disengagement and unemployment, creates positive employment and economic development outcomes;
  • Procuring services from local and social enterprises and indigenous businesses, and encouraging better labour standards from our suppliers, grows local employment opportunities and helps disadvantaged segments of the community participate in the economy;
  • Small to medium local businesses set up around our centres serving our retailers and consumers, and expanding the economic activity in the surrounding community;
  • Large development projects span many years creating employment opportunities with contractors during construction and retailers post completion; and
  • Our diverse retail offering provides broader societal and lifestyle benefits through access to gyms, cafes and restaurants, cinemas and health and wellbeing services.