Mums and dads visiting Meadowhall Shopping Centre need no longer fear running out of nappies, wipes or dummies as the region’s top shopping destination hosts its very first complimentary parent-friendly vending machine today.
The dispenser, trialled in the Centre this Thursday (March 12), was developed to take the pain out of parental shopping by stocking baby and toddler essentials for a stress-free family shopping trip. As well as nappies and wipes, there were other goodies on hand including small toys, snacks and drinks to choose from – conveniently located on the malls and just when junior needs them.
The trial is part of a wider parent-led initiative being adopted by Meadowhall after a parent’s survey and a series of focus groups fed back on what would make their life easier when out shopping with their children. A whopping 8 out of 10 parents said a fear of toddler tantrums could ruin their day out and a 76 out of the 100 questioned said losing items such as teddies, toys and dummies would also put a dampener on their shopping trip.
As a direct result of that feedback Meadowhall Shopping Centre is also set to launch its own “Mini & Me Club” aimed at parents, child-minders and grandparents. The first Mini & Me club will officially meet in May with a series of breakfast get-togethers as well as exclusive family friendly offers, information about events and the Centre’s family facilities.
Each monthly breakfast, lasting around an hour, will have a guest speaker or theme with the first one, taking place on May 1 in the Oasis Dining Quarter at the Centre, covering baby & toddler first aid, with hands-on demonstrations. As well as a chance to meet other parents, the children will also get the VIP treatment with Tumble Tots on hand to keep them happy.
Other topics that will be covered in the forthcoming sessions include a sing & sign session and, over the summer, there will be organised buggy walks, a possible parent boot camp session, pop up back-to-school shops as well as kiddy crafts and meet n’ greets to swap stories with some of the region’s celebrity mums.
Centre Director Darren Pearce said: “We want Meadowhall to be a family-friendly environment but we know there are things we can do better. We have listened to our customers to find out what they both want and need and these are the first two initiatives we’re rolling out as a result.
“The vending machine could be an immediate win for parents following the trial, but it’s important we see how our customers respond first.
“The Mini & Me Club is a longer term plan to offer both mums and dads something fun and social to do here at Meadowhall. As a dad, I know how isolating it can feel when you have a new baby at home and just want to have an adult conversation once in a while.”
Capital FM presenter and mum-to-be Becky Hayes is also keen on the idea. She added: “I’m definitely going to sign up as I’m going to need all the support I can when my baby arrives. To have the option to get out and meet other parents at a venue like Meadowhall and learn useful things like baby massage or first aid will be perfect.”
Any carer can register to be part of the Mini & Me club via the Meadowhall website. Once registered you can collect your free membership card entitling you to exclusive offers and discounts and a welcome letter outlining what is coming up, dates, times and events to look forward to, which will be available to collect from Meadowhall Management Suite.
Parents can also add in their own ideas and feedback via Tell Meadowhall at http://www.meadowhall.co.uk/tell_meadowhall.