Lidl Ireland to hold weekly autism friendly evenings across all stores starting April
The evenings will be rolled out across stores between April and May.
Lidl has announced that it will be starting weekly Autism Aware Quiet Evenings across all 194 of its stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Given an initial trial run during 2017, the supermarket chain will roll out the initiative starting on 2 April, World Autism Day, with all stores expected to be involved by May.
The network of stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland will receive a series of sensory adjustments, which will classify each store as autism aware.
From 2 April every Tuesday between 6-8pm, the following changes will be in place:
- No in-store annoucements
- Reduced lighting
- No music
- Priority queuing for customers dealing with autism as well as extra assistance upon request
- Till scan sounds lowered
- Autism assistance dogs welcome
In-store maps will also be made available for children with autism, so as to plan and organise their shopping trips, which will add structure and routine to help them deal with what they may otherwise see as a chaotic experience.
In order to ensure that the evenings suit the needs of their customers, Lidl has been working alongside Irish Autism Action and The National Autistic Society.
The supermarket chain has also called on registered Irish autism charities to get in touch if they would like to promote their work and raise awareness by speaking to customers in stores.
Commenting on the news, Deirdre Ryan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Lidl Ireland said: "Public spaces can be overwhelming for anyone with autism, we would like to support our customers who are struggling to manage tasks such as the weekly shop, by providing a calmer environment and the security of knowing that additional assistance is available if necessary.
"The feedback from our trial last year was very positive and we look forward to offering Autism Aware Quiet Evenings to customers in all stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland."
For more information on the list of participating stores and roll out dates, visit their official website here.