Co-op Group plays ‘sound of silence’ to support national Autism Hour

Stores turned off their radio systems for an hour to give autistic people a break from an overload of noise and information

The Co-op Group ran a “quiet hour” from 10am-11am on Monday morning, in support of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

The retailer’s stores switched off their radio systems for the hour, giving autistic people a break from the usual overload of ‘too much information’.

Marketing communications director Amanda Jennings said: “As a community retailer it’s important that we listen to our colleagues, members and customers and adapt our stores to support all members of the community where we can.

“Co-op members have told us that this is important to them and that’s why it’s important to us. We are proud to be supporting the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour and we are currently looking into what changes we can make to our in-store radio programme.”

All stores across the 2,500 Co-op estate will have the in-store radio and DJ announcements and deals turned off, as well as the TV screens and tannoy announcements, to make shopping easier for those with the condition.

Mark Lever, CEO at the National Autistic Society, said: “It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as the Co-op getting involved in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.

“Like anyone, people on the autism spectrum and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops. But many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them altogether.

“Our Too Much Information campaign has highlighted that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference for autistic people and we are confident this week-long event around the UK will help shops and services understand how we can work towards a more autism friendly world.”

Ms Jennings added: “We hope that this hour will provide an enhanced shopping experience for those in the community who find excess noise problematic.”

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