Coles rolls out autism-friendly shopping hour after successful trials

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    Coles rolls out autism-friendly shopping hour after successful trials
    (Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    A supermarket chain in Australia is rolling out an autism-friendly hour across nearly 70 stores, following a successful trial.

    Coles’ Quiet Hour programme reduces noise and distractions in order to make shopping easier for autistic customers.

    Store lighting is dimmed by 50%, the radio is switched off, trolley collections are halted and scanner volumes are reduced.

    There are also no PA announcements and free fruit is offered at customer service.

    The hour will happen every Tuesday between 10.30am and 11.30 and various Coles stores across Australia.

    ‘At Coles, we are always looking at ways we can meet the differing needs of our customers by creating a shopping environment in which our customers and team members feel comfortable,’ says Coles accessibility sponsor Peter Sheean.

    ‘We were really pleased to receive a positive response from our customers and team members, who welcomed Quiet Hour and provided feedback on social media. It’s fantastic to hear that the changes we made in store during the trial had helped to make a real difference to our customers’ shopping experience at Coles.

    Coles rolls out autism-friendly shopping hour after successful trials
    (Picture: Andy Shaw/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    ‘Our team members at participating stores are enthusiastic about the initiative and look forward to offering Quiet Hour to their customers who might benefit from the experience.’

    The chain has teamed up with Autism Spectrum Australia to launch the initiative.

    ‘People on the autism spectrum often have difficulty processing sensory information and can find sounds, light, smell, touch and taste overwhelming,’ says Linzi Coyle, community engagement and operations manager for the charity.

    ‘For many individuals and families, a simple trip to the shops can be difficult. The trial held at Coles in Ringwood and Balwyn East was a wonderful success and we received a lot of positive feedback from community members about their experience.

    ‘With autism affecting one in 100 Australians, expanding this low-sensory shopping experience to more Coles stores will have a significant improvement on the lives of many children, young people and adults on the spectrum, as well as their family members.

    ‘The modifications to the shopping experience haven’t just been about creating low physical and sensory stimulators. Together with Coles, we’re achieving a ‘no-judgment’ shopping space where people on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable and welcome whilst grocery shopping.

    ‘We encourage anyone who may benefit from the experience to visit a participating Coles store and try sensory-friendly shopping.’

    Which Coles stores are offering Quiet Hour?

    NEW SOUTH WALES

    Banora Point
    Bega
    Brighton-Le-Sands
    Caringbah
    Castle Hill
    Epping
    Goulburn
    Inverell
    Kings Langley
    Lisarow
    Manly Vale
    Medowie
    Moss Vale
    Old Bar
    Pyrmont
    Ulladulla
    Wadalba
    Warners Bay
    Wattle Grove
    Wellington
    • QUEENSLAND
    Cairns Central
    Caloundra
    Cleveland
    Everton Park
    Helensvale
    Kippa Ring
    Marsden
    Maryborough
    Mt Gravatt
    Mudgeeraba
    Newfarm
    Rockhampton South
    Toowoomba
    Townsville Annandale

    SOUTH AUSTRALIA

    Anzac Highway
    Mount Barker
    Park Holme
    Port Pirie
    Tea Tree Plaza

     

    NORTHERN TERRITORY

    Casuarina — Bradshaw St

     

    VICTORIA

    Altona Meadows
    Balwyn East
    Belmont
    Benalla
    Brandon Park
    Brighton
    Brunswick West
    Burnside
    Cranbourne West
    Eltham
    Essendon Fields
    Ferntree Gully
    Fitzroy
    Langwarrin
    Newtown
    Pakenham Lakeside
    Prahran
    Ringwood
    Wendouree

     

    WESTERN AUSTRALIA

    Erskine
    Floreat
    Hillarys
    Kalgoorlie
    Margaret River
    Mundaring
    South Lakes
    Southern River

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