Home Bargains has introduced a ‘quiet hour’ across all its UK stores, for shoppers with autism. Music will be turned off and tannoys kept silent in stores to create a more peaceful environment.

The ‘quiet hour’ will take place every Saturday between 9am and 10am, and aims to enable customers with autism to shop in a calmer environment. In order to facilitate the peaceful shopping environment, music will be turned off and tannoys kept silent, except for urgent announcements.

This initiative by Home Bargains is in collaboration with The National Autistic Society, which has advised on how to create a better environment for shoppers with autism.

Joe Morris, operations director at Home Bargains, said: “We have introduced the Quiet Hour to add a peaceful element to retail therapy.

“Home Bargains stores can be busy places, which can be potentially overwhelming for people with autism.

“We have created the quieter and calmer environment to enable all of our customers to have an enjoyable and relaxing shopping experience.

“We will continually assess where we can support each and every one of our five million weekly shoppers, whatever their situation.”

‘Public spaces can be challenging’

Tom Purser, National Autistic Society’s head of campaigns said: “We are very pleased to hear that Home Bargains is introducing a quiet hour into its stores to make shopping a little easier for autistic people and their families.

“We hear from autistic people and their families that shops and other public spaces can be challenging because of bright lights, strong smells and crowds or queues, all of which can cause them to feel overwhelmed.

“Our research shows that 64 per cent of autistic people avoid the shops and 28 per cent have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism.”

Photo: Home Bargains, Bangor.