Shopping centre owner Intu will ask retailers and restaurant operators to dim lights and music in a bid to create a better shopping environment for people with autism.
Intu will partner with charity The National Autistic Society and ask every retailer at its 14 centres to take part in the ‘quiet hour’ at 10am on Monday 2 October. Clarks and Toys ‘R’ us are among the retailers who have already signed up to the campaign.
Staff already receive training in how to provide autism-aware customer service and quiet hours have been held at a number of centres but this will be the first attempt at a national event.
Corporate responsibility director Alexander Nicoll said: “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.”
A survey from The National Autistic Society found that 64% of autistic people avoid going to the shops and 28% have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated with their autism.