Store bringing in 'quiet' time to help autistic shoppers

A supermarket is introducing a "quiet hour" at a Manchester store to help autistic and disabled shoppers.

The Asda Living store in Cheetham Hill is pioneering a special disability-friendly hour for local people who feel intimidated or stressed by noise and disturbance. 

The store will open an hour early without many electronic distractions, including escalators, music and display TVs, and the tannoy will not be used for announcements. 

The idea came from manager Simon Lea, who wanted to help after seeing a boy with autism struggling to cope in the shop.

He hopes the move will ensure there are no distractions for people with autism, who are sometimes troubled by loud noises.

Mr Lea said: "Following the incident, I've been speaking with colleagues and customers about how we can help shoppers with autism or disabilities. I suffered for many years with anxiety and I used to absolutely hate going into busy stores."

He added: "If we can make a few small changes to give these customers a better shopping experience and make them comfortable then I know the store will be a better place to shop for everyone."

Local autism groups and families can try out the quiet time on Saturday May 7 at 8am, when store staff will be on hand to greet customers.

Mr Lea said: "Last week, I posted on Facebook about the idea of a 'quiet hour' and the reaction was absolutely fantastic, people from across the country were responding, saying what a great idea this was."

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