Four Whiteley shopping centre employees honoured as part of a summer of 10th anniversary celebrations

From left - Jess West, Vicky Bennett and Teresa Cook are all celebrating a decade working at Whiteley shopping centre
From left – Jess West, Vicky Bennett and Teresa Cook are all celebrating a decade working at Whiteley shopping centre

In 2013, more than 2,000 people queued for jobs at the new £84m centre, with over 1,000 new roles created.

It was the second development on the site – the original outlet centre failed to compete with shopping centres in Portsmouth and Southampton and had been demolished two years earlier.

Now, a decade on from the reopening, four of the first intake of workers – Teresa Cook, Vicky Bennett, Jess West and Vicky Chivers – are still there.

Vicky Chivers works in The Body ShopVicky Chivers works in The Body Shop
Vicky Chivers works in The Body Shop

Teresa is a sales adviser in the Moss Bros store, while Vicky started her career at the centre as a shift supervisor at Starbucks, before becoming store manager there six years ago.

Jess has progressed through several roles at The Body Shop, including a customer consultant, assistant manager and store manager, before becoming a team leader in 2013.

Meanwhile, Vicky also works at The Body Shop as a customer consultant and was also part of the centre’s opening day.

Reflecting on her time at Whiteley, Teresa said: ‘The past decade has been one that I will cherish forever. It has been truly remarkable to witness the centre’s growth over the years.

‘We have such an amazing range of stores at Whiteley, it’s hard not to take advantage of what’s on offer.’

Vicky added: ‘I remember when the centre first opened, and the queue was round the car park.

‘Since joining back in 2013, one thing that has remained the same is that I’ve always been part of an amazing team, making some good friends along the way who have all been there to celebrate any achievements with me.’

Jess said: ‘My favourite thing about working here is that there are so many opportunities available to progress, and I’ve been lucky enough to work in a variety of different roles.’

Vicky added: ‘The last 10 years have flown by, and I have made so many memories with such wonderful people.

I really hope that I continue to work here for many years to come, because it is a very special place.’

The four will receive flowers and chocolates from Whiteley as a token of appreciation for their contribution and long service.

Over the last 10 years, the centre has played a pivotal role in the local community, providing employment opportunities, and supporting a host of charitable organisations through on-site fundraising opportunities, and in more recent years through annual partnerships via its Giving Box.

Mia Gordon, centre director at Whiteley, said: ‘The redevelopment a decade ago completely transformed the site and 10 years to the week since it opened, it’s brilliant to see the important role the centre now plays for the local community.

‘We’re proud to be a major employer in the area and, as we mark this anniversary, we are especially pleased to have colleagues who’ve been with us throughout the journey.

‘It’s great to hear that Teresa, Jess, Vicky, and Vicky have enjoyed being part of our team so much, and to see the opportunities working at Whiteley has provided for them to progress in their careers.

‘We are grateful for their contributions to the success of the centre, along with the thousands of others who have played a part. Here’s to the next 10 years!’

As part of a summer of celebrations for its 10th anniversary, Whiteley will be hosting a range of activities including a Doggy Activity Day tomorrow (May 27) and a series of family-friendly shows and activities, live music, and performances from local acts throughout July and August.

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