Intu shopping centres will stage quiet hours in its stores as part of the UK’s first nationwide “Autism Hour”.
Every retailer, restaurant and leisure operator at Intu’s centres across the country will be asked to dim the lights, music and other background noise for an hour on Monday, October 2.
This comes as part of a week-long event launched as part of a partnership between Intu and the National Autistic Society.
According to the charity, 64 per cent of those with autism avoid going shopping, and a further 28 have been asked to leave a public place for reasons related to their autism.
To give autistic people the chance to shop and avoid the usual overload of too much information, all shops are being encouraged to take part.
Shoe retailer Clarks and Toys ‘R’ Us have already signed up to the scheme, both having previously held quiet hours in their individual stores.
The shopping centre giant has been holding the events, as well as training staff how to help autistic shoppers for years. However, this will be the first year Intu is calling for a nation-wide event.
“We are asking every shop, restaurant and leisure brand in our centres to dim their lights and reduce their music for an hour and to raise awareness of autism among their staff and customers,” Intu’s corporate responsibility director Alexander Nicoll said.
“We hope that launching the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour in our centres will encourage many more organisations across the country to take these simple steps that will make life easier for the millions of people impacted by autism.
“We want to put a smile on the face of everyone who visits an intu centre and this means training our staff, supporting our customers and working with brands in our centres as well as organisations like the National Autistic Society to provide a welcoming and accessible experience for all.”