Asda rolls out ‘Quieter Hour’ and trains over 85,000 colleagues to better serve customers with additional needs

Purple Tuesday Colleague 2021

Asda has announced it has carried out extra training for over 85,000 colleagues to help better serve disabled customers through the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme. To coincide with Purple Tuesday, Asda has also announced the rollout of it’s new ‘Quieter Hour’ in stores which will see store noises diminished to aid customers with certain disabilities.

The new ‘Quieter Hour’ in our stores will last between 2-3pm Monday to Thursday and will see reduced noise levels in our stores to make visits more accessible for customers with additional needs. The Asda Store Locator will also be updated to provide better accessibility information in each one of our stores, including information about changing places bathroom facilities, braille guns and hearing loops which are available in a number of stores across the country.

Asda will also turn its logo and social media icons purple to mark Purple Tuesday, a campaign that highlights challenges that disabled people can face and calls for action to improve customer service.

The supermarket is also sponsoring Purple Tuesday 365; an annual learning subscription service that helps organisations and their colleagues to access knowledge, and practical approaches to provide better everyday experiences for disabled people and their families. Asda’s sponsorship provides access to a monthly exclusive webinar covering contemporary disability-related topics to align with other national awareness events with all webinars recorded to share with our colleagues. The partnership also provides access to learning resources throughout the year to help Asda be better able to engage and communicate with our customers and colleagues.

Mark Simpson, Chief Supply Chain Officer and Exec sponsor for Disability, said: ‘’We are proud to be an inclusive business for our customers and colleagues, that’s why now and over the past four years since its inception, we support Purple Tuesday. There are an estimated 14.1 million people with a disability living in the UK, and 80% of disabilities are hidden, so we hope that by introducing quieter times for customers to shop that we will be able to make our stores more welcoming and inclusive for customers with additional needs.’’

Mike Adams OBE, CEO Purple, said: ‘’Purple is absolutely delighted Asda is our Purple 365 partner. To change the disability conversation requires organisations to take all their colleagues on the journey. Through knowledge, understanding, new approaches and confidence. Asda is doing exactly that and is the ideal partner to take everyone else with us. We are equally proud they are supporting Purple Tuesday.’’

Paul White, CEO of The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme, said: “We are thrilled that Asda is rolling the Sunflower out across its 630 stores to support its customers and colleagues who have an invisible disability. Grocery shopping can be an exhausting and stressful experience, even more so if you are disabled. Sunflower wearers that visit Asda can feel confident that they will be recognised by staff and will be given extra care, time and patience. The weekly shop just got a whole lot brighter with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, making the invisible visible.”

In 2020, Asda launched initiatives to aid the Deaf and hard of hearing community following the adoption of facemasks, and also supplied colleagues with a guide to raise awareness of neurodiversity. In 2019 Asda supplied its store colleagues with a guide to raise awareness and focus on sign-language, including key words and phrases which colleagues could learn to sign.