Morrisons launches ‘quiet hour’ to help autistic customers in Portsmouth, Gosport and Horndean

Morrisons has launched a 'quiet hour' in aid of autistic customers. Picture: Chris Radburn/ PA Wire
Morrisons has launched a 'quiet hour' in aid of autistic customers. Picture: Chris Radburn/ PA Wire

Morrisons will be introducing a ‘quiet hour’ for shoppers who can’t stand noise at stores in the Portsmouth area. 

The supermarket will dim lights and turn off music as part of the autistic friendly initiative. 

It will take place every Saturday at the Portsmouth, Gosport and Horndean, between 9am and 10am to help customers who struggle with the noises associated with shopping. 

The Quieter Hour initiative has been created with the support of the National Autistic Society. Many people who are autistic or those with autistic children can find shopping in a supermarket an anxious experience.

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So Morrisons carried out a trial earlier in the year in three of its stores to find out what improvements can be made and to find a convenient time each week for the ‘Quieter Hour’ to take place.

Listening to customers they found one in five had a friend or family member with autism and many appreciated the option to shop at that time on a Saturday.

During Quieter Hours the store will:

●     Dim the lights

●     Turn music and radio off

●     Avoid making tannoy announcements

●     Reduce movement of trolleys and baskets

●     Turn checkout beeps and other electrical noises down

●      Place a poster outside to tell customers it’s Quieter Hour.

Morrisons will also work to improve awareness amongst colleagues of the issues autistic customers face in store.

Daniel Cadey, from the National Autistic Society said: ‘Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.

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‘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.’

Rich Clancy at Morrisons Portsmouth added: ‘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.'