Sainsbury’s unveils ‘deaf friendly’ store initiative

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is making one of its stores “deaf friendly” to encourage staff and customers to communicate with each other through sign language.

The branch in Bath will be renamed Signsbury’s from Thursday until Sunday and will be kitted out with visual guides and screens.

Employees have been taught words and phrases in British Sign Language, supported by colleague Sam Brook, who is deaf.

Children will be given a free fruit snack if they learn how to “sign” basic words.

Actress Rachel Shenton, right, demonstrates sign language with Sainsbury's worker Sam Book
Actress Rachel Shenton, right, a National Deaf Children’s Society ambassador, demonstrates sign language with Sainsbury’s worker Sam Book (Neil Munns/PA)

Sainsbury’s said it hoped the initiative would help to encourage better communication with those who are hard of hearing by creating a supportive environment for staff and the local community.

Store manager Paul Robertson said: “We have many hard of hearing customers in Bath and always want to make their experience as brilliant as possible, and we hope Signsbury’s will help better their time in store even more.”

Rachel Shenton, ambassador of the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “It’s been brilliant to see the colleagues of Sainsbury’s be so engaged in the idea and it’s a great step towards inclusivity for the deaf community.”

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