Access Israel award to Ikea

Access Israel award to Ikea (Enlarge)

Last Sunday, August 1, 2010, Ikea Israel received the Access Award of Access Israel, for its new store in Rishon LeZion.

The Access Israel Award was presented to Shlomi Gabai, the Managing Director of Ikea Israel, at the Ikea store in Rishon LeZion, with the participation of the Welfare Minister, Yitzhak Herzog, Ami Ayalon, Chairman of Akim, Sigal Peretz Yahalomi, Managing Director of Akim, Yuval Wagner, Chairman of Access Israel, Momo Nekaveh, Chairman of the Association for the Disabled, Ron Hadassi, Chairman of Ikea Israel and Alon Zilberberg, Manager of the Rishon LeZion Ikea store.

What is the Access Israel Award? The access award confirms that the business has suitable access conditions for customers/people with disabilities (both physical and mental).

The disabled population in Israel is divided between the wheel chair bound, the movement handicapped, the sight limited or blind, the hard of hearing or deaf and the elderly, totalling about 500,000 people.

Some 150,000 of these people are physically handicapped and require suitable access.  As they are usually accompanied by family members or friends, this means that the target population is between 300,000 and 600,000.

The Ikea store endeavors to offer the ideal shopping experience for all the public and this incorporates access and maximum ease for all visitors, including those with disabilities, who have been provided with specially adaptable accessibility to enable them to enjoy the shopping experience. This includes disabled parking, full access throughout the store and the exit to the parking lot/

                  Yuval Wagner, Chairman of Access Israel (centre) with Minister Herzog

Description of accessibility in the Ikea stores:

Disabled parking - Ikea offers reserved parking places near the store's entrance for the disabled and physically handicapped.

Wheel chairs – at the store entrance Ikea offers special wheel chairs for the disabled.

Motorized carts – to assist the disabled and infirm – are offered free of charge. The whole store is suitable for wheel chairs and motorized carts.

Hearing aids – Ikea offers the hearing impaired hearing aids which filter out background noises and offer appropriate service.   The hearing aids can be obtained at the customer service desks and check out counters.   In addition, the central check out counter (No. 13) and the fast check out counter have wide passageways suitable for wheel chairs, as well as a device which transmits the cashier's voice directly to the hearing aids used by the hearing impaired.

Wide passageways – the internal space in the Ikea store is designed with especially wide passageways, to enable easy movement for wheel chairs and other movement accessories.

Elevator accessibility – the store, with its two floors, has especially wide elevators which sound a special tone for the hearing impaired when they stop.  The elevators also have a system of push buttons with large lettering and Braille for the sight impaired.

Easy access check out counters – Ikea adapted the height of the counters for the disabled, enabling them to sign credit cards, and accessibility to people in wheel chairs.

Cash withdrawing – the cash machine is accessible (adapted to the height of a wheel chair).

Restrooms for the disabled – there are special booths in the restrooms for the disabled.

Cafeteria – Ikea's cafeteria also has wide passageways, allowing equality of access.

Emergency Exits – all the emergency exits are suitable for the blind, who are directed via a sound alarm to the emergency door.   In addition, there are light flashes which lead the hearing impaired to the emergency door.

According to Shlomo Gabai, Managing Director of Ikea, "Ikea worldwide considers itself an active partner in the communities in which it operates.   The Access Israel Award is an additional stage in Ikea's concept, which is to improve the day-to-day life of as many people as possible, including those with special needs and disabilities."

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