Central England Co-op launches relaxed checkout lanes for vulnerable customers

'Everyone here hopes this provides a happier shopping experience for people who need a little bit of extra time'

Central England Co-up is launching relaxed checkouts at two of its stores as part of a pilot project to support vulnerable customers.

The Ripley food store in Derbyshire and Oakham food store in Leicestershire are introducing the checkouts for customers who need extra time at the till.

Checkout operators have been trained to identify customers’ special needs and work at a speed that suits them. It is hoped the designated ‘extra time’ checkout lanes will prove useful for elderly shoppers and those with mental health needs, social anxiety, Alzheimer’s, dementia and autism.

Gavin Glidewell, store manager at Ripley, said: “We are really proud to be trialling the extra-time checkout project for our customers and members. The special lane means that there will be no rush or pressure to get items on the conveyor belt and packed away at the other end.

Our new relaxed checkout is open to all. Whether a customer has a medical condition which requires them to take things a little easier, or they value an extra couple of minutes to chat to our checkout colleague, we want them to be confident they can shop at their own pace when visiting a Central England Co-op food store.

“Everyone here hopes this provides a happier shopping experience for people who need a little bit of extra time at the checkout.”

The signposted extra time checkout lanes will be in operation from 10am to noon every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And the pilot project will run for three weeks from Tuesday 28 August.

The launch of the pilot comes as part of the society’s ongoing commitment to breaking the stigma of mental health and supporting its corporate charity partner Dementia UK.

Paul Edwards, director of clinical services at Dementia UK, said: “Going through a shop checkout can be a fast, noisy experience, which can be quite unsettling for someone living with dementia.

“The extra time checkout is an excellent initiative to make people with dementia feel welcome and respected, while helping them to live fulfilling, independent lives.”

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