Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is to open the first sign language store in the UK, at a store in Bath, as part of the company’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
‘Signsbury’s’ will be open for four days from the 18 – 21 July and will see colleagues sign several common words and phrases when interacting with customers – from greeting them at the door, asking if they have a Nectar Card to even discussing the weather.
Over 100 colleagues in the store taking part in British Sign Language lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign. The lessons were supported by a colleague who is deaf, Sam Book, and Rachel Shenton, the Oscar winning screenwriter who signed her 2018 acceptance speech.
Screens have also been installed which demonstrate how to sign different words and phrases, including ‘milk’, ‘trolley’ and ‘bananas’, to encourage customers to get involved in the initiative.
Paul Robertson, store manager, Bath Sainsbury’s, said: “When I heard about our 150 Days of Community scheme, I thought it was the perfect time to use the opportunity to explore new ways to make our store more deaf-friendly. 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.”
Shenton, ambassador, National Deaf Children’s Society, added: “This is a fantastic initiative to be involved in. 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. This feels like the start of something exciting and I hope it encourages more people to get involved.”