Serving our communities in a time of uncertainty
Local shopping centres are vital community hubs, providing essential needs and non-discretionary goods and services, which are especially important when faced with a pandemic. This is the guiding principal for how we operate our centres across the Capital & Regional portfolio. Over the last month, the significance of our centres to community infrastructure has become clearer than ever before. Fortunately, since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been able to adapt our internal processes and daily operations with agility and pace to serve and support our communities to the highest possible standards.
Clear and consistent communication has been critical to this process. In the first days of the global outbreak, we set up a COVID-19 Response Team involving key individuals from across the business. The purpose of the response team has been to act as a monitoring body to ensure Capital & Regional is well placed to react and respond appropriately to ensure the welfare and safety of all our employees, guest and retailers customers. This crucial initiative has enabled us to quickly adapt our operations in line with government guidelines and public health authorities, to allocate resources where needed and continue to deliver the essential services to our communities. All our centres remain open to allow our guests and the local community to benefit from these essential services.
The true value of our community relationships has also come into sharp focus in recent weeks. Across the national portfolio, we are continuing to update our communities, guests and retail customers on the latest government guidance and subsequent changes to our operations, such as free parking for key workers and those accessing essential services. We have adopted an omnichannel approach to share important information including F&B delivery guidance and opening hour changes, to ensure critical information is reaching our communities, and to support the continued operations of our needs-based retailers during this challenging period.
Supporting our communities has played a central role in our response to COVID-19. Collective action at a local level is key to enabling our communities to thrive – and we are proud to work with institutions including the Salvation Army, local food banks, and NHS charities. We recognise that in these uncertain times, the little things count too - and we have implemented initiatives including our Virtual Mother’s Day colouring competition, providing food parcels for the vulnerable and our stay-at-home activity newsletters for children to help ease the pressures felt by families because of the pandemic.
As we see other retail businesses around the world beginning to reopen, while keeping a close eye on what’s happening in the UK, our focus is on planning and supporting the reopening of our retail customers. Our number one priority during this process is ensuring we have the measures in place that will allow our communities to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.
Sara Jennings, Director of Guest and Customer Experience