Morrisons: from autism-friendly Quieter Hours to Macmillan Coffee Mornings at Lancashire’s community store
and live on Freeview channel 276
Set in the heart of the town, the store has emerged as a real community hub, hosting a wide range of evens, groups, and fundraisers from the Stitch Together Kirkham knitting group, vaccination drives, and colouring competitions for local children to donation drives for local food banks, book sales for local hospices, and Macmillan Coffee Mornings.
Their latest initiative, spearheaded by Rad himself, is called Invisible Disabilities and focuses on raising awareness amongst employees and customers about inclusivity when it comes to unseen conditions. Himself blind in one eye and deaf in one ear as a result of the treatment he has undergone for cancer, Rad is extremely passionate about the subject of inclusivity.
“What I’d like to achieve is for people to be more open-minded and to make the store more welcoming,” explains Rad, 32. “I myself have something called Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome (VHL), which is a rare condition which causes cancers in different parts of the body and I’m open about it - I’ve had both kidneys removed, so I’ve been through a lot!
“Others are also living with hidden disabilities which people just don’t know about, so we want to make sure the store is a welcoming place for them as well,” continues Rad, who lives in Freckleton. “It’s all about helping people and making others aware of the fact that some may be struggling without necessarily wanting to talk about it.”
Having raised almost £5,000 for Together for Short Lives and Brian House Children's Hospice through a sponsored sky-dive and zip-line, staff at Morrisons Kirkham are fully on-board with the Invisible Disabilities campaign, with the initiative even receiving support from Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde.
“It all started with a post I put on Facebook,” says Rad, who has worked for Morrisons for three years, taking on the role of community champion in July. “I was really shocked with the amount of interest and questions I had from locals, so I started working with head office to find out what we can do to make the store a safer environment for everybody.
“I became community champion because I’m a people person and I’ve always been interested in supporting others,” he adds. “The well-being of other people is extremely important and my role is about helping, whether that's events at local schools or encouraging customers to donate items to local food banks.
“What I really want to see is other local businesses getting involved with the campaign too,” continues Rad. “Seeing the community come together gives me a lot of pride and I know we’re doing the right thing by working towards the wellness of others. Everybody’s welcome at Morrisons and, if there’s anything I can help with, I’m more than happy to get involved.”
For more information on Morrisons Kirkham’s work in the local community, head to https://www.facebook.com/groups/575986073344248