Selected stores across the two regions are trialling an hour for local people with autism and dementia who may feel intimidated or stressed by noise and disturbance. This includes cutting out many electronic distractions, such as music and display TVs, whilst not using the tannoy for any announcements.
Asda said these small steps will “ensure there are fewer disruptions around the store” for people who are sometimes troubled by loud noises or become easily distracted and confused, which includes:
- Turning off the Asda FM radio channel and in store tannoy system.
- Turning down the volume of the ‘beeps’ on all checkouts.
- Prevention of any unnecessary alarm barriers going off.
- Turning off any door heaters/blowers.
- Ensure all specialist equipment such as wheelchairs, electric scooters are available and accessible.
- Lighting levels being dropped.
- Colleagues working during the ‘inclusive hour’ will keep noise to a minimum, especially when replenishing shelves.
Jodie Tate, vice president of central retail operations and chair of Asda’s inclusion board, said: “Purple Tuesday, the UK’s first accessible shopping day is here to recognise the needs of our customers with disabilities and/or hidden conditions and to promote inclusive shopping. I’m really proud of the efforts and progress we’ve made to support inclusive shopping, not just on Purple Tuesday, but every day.
“I’m really pleased we’re trialling a new ‘Inclusive Hour’ across two regions. We already provide equipment and services to make working and shopping with us as easy and accessible as possible – whether that’s our adapted wheelchair trollies, hearing loops or our accessible toilets. It’s great that we are extending our support further by trialling an ‘Inclusive Hour’ to make the shopping experience better for customers with hidden conditions such as autism and dementia.”
Purple Tuesday was established to recognise the importance and needs of customers with disabilities and promote inclusive shopping.