REFLECT- THE GALLERIES – BRISTOL- SUPPORTING THE NHS THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC
The Galleries shopping centre sits in the heart of Bristol city centre, only a 5-10 min walk from one of Bristol’s major hospitals –the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). At the very start of the pandemic, one of the centre’s lettings agents mentioned that his wife worked for the NHS, and the team discussed what intense pressure NHS staff were under; as a result, the quick decision was made to offer free parking to NHS staff to help support them during these exceptionally difficult times. The free parking offer started during April 2020 and ran right through until the end of November 2021.
During the peak of the pandemic, this benefited on average 300 NHS staff per day (the value of this parking equates to £5,400 per day based on the £18 per day tariff), so the overall support was worth in the region of £3 million.
To continue the centre’s support for theBRI and the NHS, The Galleries has been able to offer discounted parking to 200 NHS staff from the BRI for the foreseeable future(£6 per day rather than £18 per day).
The other benefit of creating this relationship is that it has resulted in The Galleries working in partnership with the NHS to create new and different spaces within the city centre. The NHS has taken two leases for vacant units at The Galleries: the old TK Maxx unit is being used for additional storage space and the old Post Office unit is currently being fitted out to create additional space for the NHS to use as a remote Eye Hospital to assist with reducing the backlog of appointments.
Not only do these spaces support the NHS in delivering excellent community support, but they also benefit the landlord by helping to reduce their business rates liability by over £240,000.
“The local NHS/BRI team were extremely happy and pleasantly surprised by the offer of free parking from The Galleries during the pandemic and made working throughout the busy period of the lockdowns and pandemic slightly easier;then offering discounted parking for up to 200 BRI staff from December 2021 has been very well received.”
Dave Wilson of the NHS