One Asda store just did something amazing for its customers. Now let's get every Asda store to do the same.

One Asda store just did something amazing for its customers. Now let's get every Asda store to do the same.

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Here’s an amazing story for you.

A few weeks ago, Asda store manager Simon Lea watched as a boy with autism struggled to cope with the levels of noise and sensory stimulation at a busy store in Manchester Fort shopping centre.

Simon decided to do something about it. He decided to open his store an hour early every Saturday for a ‘super-quiet hour’, for customers who struggle to cope with sensory overload. No flashing TV displays. No blaring music. No moving escalators. Just a silent store -- and a picture map for every customer, showing them how to find their way around.

The response from customers has been amazing. So much so that eight other shops at Manchester Fort have introduced quiet hours of their own. But imagine if we could give people across the country the chance to shop in a “super-quiet” store every week? Well, we can:

Say thank you to Simon Lea -- and ask Asda to roll out ‘quiet hours’ to every one of its stores across the country.

Shopping can be a huge challenge for some people with autism and other conditions that can affect sensory processing or make busy environments overwhelming places to be. The Asda manager, Simon Lea, understood this only too well, having himself experienced anxiety for several years. And he knew he “could make a few small changes to give these customers a better shopping experience” -- so he did.

The result has been a quiet revolution for many families in Manchester. Joanne Baines, who took her daughter shopping during one of Asda’s first quiet hours, explains:

“[My daughter] not only managed without her wheelchair and ear defenders but she coped and didn’t go into crisis. This for us is huge… My daughter doesn’t cope with overstimulation of noise, lights and crowds but today she has learnt that she can do this, and that is so important for her and us as a family.”

When corporations go above and beyond what is expected of them to improve the lives of their customers, we should acknowledge that -- and, as a community, we have often done so. But this time, we can do more than just thank Asda. We can encourage the company to revolutionise the lives of thousands of people across the UK, by introducing quiet hours in every single store. And, as the experience in Manchester shows, where Asda goes, other shops will surely follow.

Thank you, Asda, for introducing a quiet hour at Manchester Fort. Please roll the scheme out nationally, so families across the country can benefit.

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