Asda stores in Merseyside and North Wales trial dementia-friendly Inclusive Hour

February 06, 2019
Asda stores across Merseyside and North West are trialling an Inclusive Hour for people with dementia and autism

We're trialling an Inclusive Hour at 19 of our stores in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales to help customers with autism and dementia and others who struggle with loud noise.

From 10-11am every Tuesday the stores will turn off the radio and tannoy and turn down the lights and beeps on the checkouts to make a welcoming shopping environment for people who may otherwise struggle with bright lights and loud noises.

A total of 950 colleagues at participating stores have taken part in awareness training to help them understand the needs of customers with dementia and autism.

Ian Grant, the community champion at our Arrowe Park store in Birkenhead, is also a certified Dementia Friend. He's working closely with local charities helping people with dementia and autism, inviting groups into the store to share more information with customers.

He said: "My father-in-law had dementia, so it's a cause that's close to my heart, and I'm looking forward to seeing how much of a difference the Inclusive Hour can make.

"Because these are hidden disabilities it's important we listen carefully to people and understand their needs."

Our stores also have Happy Little Helpers boards, designed to help children with autism when they're in the store.

Ian said: "It's all about what might seem little things that make the shopping experience welcoming for everyone."

Our Arrowe Park store manager Sarah Tavernor, pictured above, says colleagues at the store are looking forward to the trial.

She said: "We're proud to offer a friendly welcome for everyone all the time, but are really happy to be taking part in this trial so we can learn just how much more we can do to help people with dementia and autism or who might sometimes struggle when they do the shopping."

The trial in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales follows a successful trial in some of our stores in Manchester and Kent late last year. Back in 2016, we were the first retailer to introduce a Quiet Hour, and since then we've been working with charities and local authorities before launching the Inclusive Hour.

During the Inclusive Hour participating stores will turn off the Asda FM radio channel and in-store tannoy, turn down the volume of the beeps on all checkouts, prevent any unncecessary alarm barriers going off, turn off door heaters and blowers, ensure all specialist equipment like wheelchairs and scooters are available and accessible, drop lighting levels, turn off display TVs and keep noise to a minimum.
Inclusive Hour: Here's a list of all the stores in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales offering an Inclusive Hour from 10-11am every Tuesday: Aintree, Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, Bootle, Breck Road, Bromborough, Chester Broughton Living, Chester Greyhound, Ellesmere Port, Llandudno, Llangefni, Pwllheli, Queensferry, Rhyl, Sefton Park, Walton, Wrexham and Wrexham Island Green Living.