New zen-style chill out space built specially for stressed shoppers at Central Milton Keynes

People can relax in comfy chairs surrounded by plants
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The city’s shopping centre has built a special Chill Out Zone for visitors who want some peace.

The zen-style space is in Midsummer Arcade, by John Lewis, and has comfy chairs where people can sit and reflect while surrounded by plants, shrubs and trees.

it’s described as the perfect space to relax, regroup and calm down when the hustle and bustle of crowds and shopping becomes a little overwhelming, say centre bosses.

The new chill out space at centre:mkThe new chill out space at centre:mk
The new chill out space at centre:mk

The move is to celebrate Mental Health Awareness week, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation to get people thinking and talking about mental health. The aim is to help tackle the stigma surrounding the topic and encourage people suffering to seek help.

This year’s theme is anxiety, which, according to a recent poll by The Mental Health Foundation, is one of the most common mental health problems we face.

The new Chill Out Zone is situated in a quieter area of the centre away from the crowds, said Centre Director Kevin Duffy.

"It is really important that we are accessible to all and we go beyond the expected. We know that a busy shopping centre environment can become overwhelming for some, so we wanted to create a relaxing and quiet space where we can all take time out, relax and regroup, until they feel ready to make the most of the fantastic retail offering and choice of restaurants in the centre,” he said.

"It’s the perfect spot to have a break and simply enjoy the surroundings.”

The centre:mk will also be lighting up its multistorey car park in green, the colour representing Mental Health Awareness Week, to help raise awareness in support of the cause.

Meanwhile, the centre is currently undergoing a major refresh of the 54 planters in the malls, including the introduction of 8,000 new plants and trees. Spending just 10 minutes around plants is known to boost our mood and relieving stress and anxiety, say experts.

The destination spans 1.3 million sq. ft. of prime retail space with stores including All Saints, Mulberry, Charlotte Tilbury, MAC, Kylie Cosmetics, Kurt Geiger, John Lewis, H Beauty (Harrod’s concept beauty store), Marks and Spencer, Next, Hobbs, Dune, Ted Baker, River Island, and many more top brands.