A Melton supermarket has come to the aid of people who find it a challenge to shop in a noisy, crowded store by introducing a special ‘quieter hour’ once a week.
The initiative, at Morrisons, in Rutland Street, is predominantly aimed at people who have been diagnosed with autism, which makes them nervous and anxious when there are large groups of people and nosie distractions.
During the trial scheme at the Melton store, every Saturday between 9am and 10am, the lights are dimmed, music is turned off, no tannoy announcements are made and checkout beeps and other electrical noises are turned down.
Evette Ainley-Hall, from the Melton branch of Morrisons, said: “Our initial trials showed there is a need for a quieter shopping experience.
“We hope that these changes make a real difference for some of our customers at our store.”
The ‘quieter hour’ has already been operated for two weekends at the town store and a spokesperson for it said: “The quieter hour has been really well received by staff and customers.”
The company consulted customers at its stores and it found that one in five customers had a friend or family member with autism and many appreciated the option to shop at that specific time on a Saturday.
It says it is also working to improve awareness amongst colleagues of the issues autistic customers face in store.
Daniel Cadey, from the National Autistic Society said the initiative could be really beneficial for those it aims to help.
He said: “Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.
“This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way.
“Morrisons’ ‘Quieter Hour’ is a step in the right direction for autistic people who find supermarket shopping a real struggle.”