Dementia-friendly Inclusive Hour trial launches at Asda stores in North Wales

February 04, 2019
Dementia and autism-friendly Inclusive Hour at Asda Pwllheli

Seven of our stores in North Wales are trialling an Inclusive Hour to help customers with autism and dementia and others who struggle with loud noise.

We're now turning off the radio, displays, tannoy announcements and other noises from 10am-11am every Tuesday at our stores in Llandudno, Llangefni, Pwllheli, Queensferry, Rhyl, Wrexham and Wrexham Island Green Living.

Across the seven stores involved in North Wales, 350 Asda colleagues have gained a better understanding about dementia and autism by undertaking awareness sessions.

Jo Scott, the community champion at our Pwllheli store, is working closely with local groups and charities to raise awareness of the initiative.

She said: "I'm really proud that our store is one of the first to be taking part in the trial. I think this is a really important initiative, as dementia and autism aren't visible.

"We're proud to treat everyone like they're family here, but we want to do whatever we can to help people who might sometimes feel nervous about coming into a busy store.

"We make everyone welcome who comes in store, but if people need a bit more space, or a bit more consideration, we're here to help."

Jo works closely with local groups and charities and called in at local hospital Ysbyty Bryn Beryl to tell nurses and staff at local support groups about our Inclusive Hour and to invite them in to see how different the shopping experience is during 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.

The trial initiative, which also includes stores in Merseyside and Cheshire, follows a successful trial late last year in Manchester and Kent.

Back in 2016, we were the first retailer to introduce a dementia-friendly Quiet Hour, and since then we've been working with charities and local authorities to further understand what simple changes can be made to the store environment to help customers' shopping experience and make it more inclusive for people who are sometimes troubled by loud noises or become easily distracted and confused.