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O2 store provides help for blind and deaf customers

Mobile News
December 6, 2011

Operator’s Workshop store in central London fitted with hearing loops and ‘personal listeners’ as it hires its first deaf member of staff

O2’s new concept Workshop store in Tottenham Court Road has hired its first deaf member of staff. Abigail Gorman (pictured) has been trained in sign language and dealing with deaf and blind customers.

O2 hired “deaf-led” consultancy, training and communications service Positive Signs to help with its accessibility programme. It has fitted the store with hearing loops and ‘personal listeners’ to help deaf people hear conversations more clearly while moving around the store.

The O2 Workshop, which is run by O2 franchise operator Telenomics, has worked with the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) to provide ‘Sight Loss Awareness’ training for its staff, who have been given training by RIM, Apple and app developers Code Factory on devices and apps to help the blind. A second member of staff, who is not deaf but is fluent in sign language, has also been hired.

O2 head of corporate responsibility Simon Davis said: “It is sometimes difficult for older or disabled customers to find the right mobile phone for their needs. By offering expert advice at our Tottenham Court Road store we’re looking forward to providing a better experience to our customers with sensory needs.

“Smartphones and apps can increase independence and confidence for those with sensory needs”, Telenomics founders Amar Radia, Adarsh Radia and Asad Hamir said in a joint statement. “We want to make these devices as accessible as possible to the sight loss and deaf communities.”

RNIB has lent its advice on making the store more accessible for blind people. The institute is also running monthly events to familiarise partially sighted and blind people with new mobile technologies and products.

The O2 Workshop store opened in September to offer free and connected work space and meeting rooms for public use. O2 says it is the only store where all staff have been trained to handle business customers.

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