Nando’s Lends an Ear, and Some PERi-PERi to Acorns Ambassadors

Front L-R, Jack, Mahdi and Abdul, Acorns Ambassadors

When a brand new Nando’s opened down the road from Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham, a group of teenagers from the hospice went down to give a bit of advice – advice that will now influence Nando’s restaurants across Britain.

The three chicken-mad diners, who use motorised wheelchairs for mobility, often face challenges when visiting restaurants. When the Selly Oak hospice found out that Nando’s would be opening around the corner, they decided to approach the restaurant’s head office to see if the trio could pop down.

Mahdi Naeem, 18, Jack Ebanks 19, and Adbul Raheem 19, suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and although they are too old to use Acorns services, they volunteer for the charity as Young Ambassadors – a role which sees them representing Acorns in the community and advising the charity on how it can improve.

Accompanying the lads on the visit was Kelly Fisher, Transition Worker at Acorns. She said: “Whilst most restaurants claim to be wheelchair accessible, we have often experienced challenges when taking more than one teenager from Acorns out for a meal. 

“We were thrilled when Nando’s accepted our offer to pop down and the Ambassadors loved the behind-the-scenes tour! The lads really appreciated the chance to be able to feedback some of their thoughts and ideas.”

One of the biggest challenges the teenagers face is the lack of space for their large powered wheelchairs, particularly when visiting in a group. 

The Project Management team for the new Nando’s restaurant at Selly Oak Retail Park. were keen to take on board the diners’ feedback and how improvements could be made to their experience, both from a store design and customer service perspective.

Young Ambassador, Jack said: “It was a great opportunity to show Nando’s some of the challenges we face in our wheelchairs. As a result, Nando’s will be making recommendations for some changes – such as larger tables to accommodate wheelchairs side by side – which is a brilliant result.”

Staff from Nando’s were also able to explain that they offer table service for anyone in a wheelchair and have portable card payment machines, meaning that disabled visitors have the option to pay at their table.

Kelly Fisher added: “We’re so grateful to Nando’s for taking the time to speak to Jack, Mahdi and Abdul and to the Ambassadors for sharing their experiences when visiting restaurants.

“It’s wonderful to hear that the feedback will be influencing Nando’s and will mean that that wheelchair users across the country will get the most out of future visits to the restaurant.” 

During the visit, the Young Ambassadors also shared their need for lighter alternatives to the standard Nando’s drinks glasses. Staff explained that whilst Nando’s have removed single-use plastic cups and straws from general use, they retain a small number behind the counter should a customer need to use them for practical reasons. 

To find out more about Acorns, please visit www.acorns.org.uk

ENDS

For more information or for interview, photograph or filming opportunities, contact the PR and Communications team:

David Chamberlain: 01564 825020 / 07817 612422 / david.chamberlain@acorns.org.uk
Nicki Robinson: 01564 825062 / 07814 302153 / nicki.robinson@acorns.org.uk

Notes to editors:

Due to the sensitive nature of Acorns care services it refrains from using the words ‘terminal’ or ‘terminally ill’ in its press releases and public communications when describing the children who use Acorns and the conditions that they have. Instead, Acorns uses the words ‘life limited’, ‘life limiting’, or ‘life threatening’. Acorns kindly requests that you respect this in your communications when referring to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns children have a lot of living to do. Thank you.

  • This year Acorns is celebrating its 30th Acorns in Birmingham, Selly Oak was opened in 1988 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales. Acorns in the Black Country, Walsall opened in 1999 and Acorns for the Three Counties, Worcester opened in 2005. To find out more visit www.acorns.org.uk/30years
  • Acorns is currently the UK and the world’s largest children’s hospice charity, as measured by the number of children it is helping to care for.
  • It costs nearly £10 million a year to run Acorns services providing care for children and support for their families. The charity relies heavily on donations to fund the majority of its activities. 
  • To find out more about Acorns, please visit acorns.org.uk