Sainsbury’s is extending its trial of handing out lanyards with a sunflower design to shoppers with hidden disabilities.
The scheme, which has been operating in 29 branches since February, will now roll out across Sainsbury’s and Argos stores nationwide.
Customers with hidden disabilities including dementia, autism, visual or hearing impairment and anxiety can collect a complimentary lanyard to discreetly signal to staff members that they may need additional support.
Staff members then provide extra help such as assisting with finding shopping items, giving customers more time at the checkout or opening extra till lanes.
“As we work towards our vision of being the UK’s most inclusive retailer, we’re proud to be offering sunflower lanyards in all stores,” said Tim Fallowfield, board sponsor for disability carers & age at Sainsbury’s.
“Not all disabilities are visible, and it’s clear that a subtle signal can make a big difference in providing confidence and reassurance. Together with our colleagues, we hope to give all our customers the best possible experience when shopping, while working with the wider industry to raise awareness.”
Sainsbury’s and Argos will also host an Autism Hour - which involves turning down the tannoy, self-checkout sounds and café music - on 9 October, in support of the National Autistic Society.
According to Tom Purser, head of campaigns & public engagement at the National Autistic Society, around one in 100 people in the UK have autism.
“They and their families want to go shopping, just like anyone else, but may find the crowds, noise and unpredictability of high street shops overwhelming - and end up avoiding them altogether,” he said.
“Autism Hour is an opportunity for businesses and the public to learn about the small things they can do to help create a society that works for autistic people. Things like shops educating their staff about autism and making simple adjustments, such as turning down music or dimming the lights. It’s often the smallest change that makes the biggest difference. It’s great to see Sainsbury’s taking simple autism-friendly steps.”