Currys, in partnership with My Canine Companion have announced that they have begun facilitating autism-friendly evenings across their 16 stores nationwide this week.
The autism-friendly hours are from 4pm until the store closes every Thursday.
During this time music and screen displays will be turned off to create a better shopping environment for those with additional needs.
As part of Currys’ partnership with My Canine Companion, staff have all carried out Autism Awareness & Understanding training with the Willow Tree Autism Project. This training has been provided to both store and corporate colleagues.
Building on from the training, Currys have implemented several initiatives in store including autism/sensory-friendly evenings in stores, providing ear defenders and sensory toys on request, providing booklets for non-verbal customers and increasing signage in store and outside stores so customers know what services are available instore and that service dogs are always welcome.
Currys also introduced Pennies in stores so that customers can donate 50 cent to My Canine Companion when they’re making a card or contactless transaction.
Kenny Cosgrove, Head of Retail Ireland, said since beginning our partnership with My Canine Companion, the team at Currys have focused on improving the shopping experience for autistic people and their families.
“We know that public spaces with loud music and bright lights can be stressful for those with autism and so the purpose of these evenings is to support our customers by providing a calmer environment, as well as letting them know that additional assistance is available if necessary,” he said.
The Willow Tree Autism Project has provided Currys colleagues in both stores and head office with Autism Awareness & Understanding Training.
In addition to the training, Willow Tree has provided guidance on measures that staff can implement in stores and online to create a better shopping experience.
John Laste of the Willow Tree Autism Project said we at the Willow Tree Autism Project were delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Currys teams throughout Ireland in our Autism Awareness and Understanding module.
“We were greeted with great enthusiasm by management and retail staff throughout the training.
“We found all of the stores we visited to be very visually inviting with large signage to guide all customers during their visits.
“We were so grateful to have the opportunity to train with an organisation with such an inclusive vision and an eagerness to learn.
“We wish Currys every success with this wonderful initiative,” he said.
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