Aldi rolls out autism-friendly hours across all stores nationwide
19 April 2023
Aldi has launched the nationwide roll out of autism-friendly hours, which will see autism-friendly measures implemented in Aldi stores every Tuesday between 6.30 – 8.30pm.
Following a successful trial, Aldi introduced the measure across its entire network of 156 stores in Ireland from Monday, 24 April onwards.
During the autism-friendly hours, Aldi stores will limit noise in stores, especially at the tills, by decreasing the volume of scanners, and by turning off unnecessary announcements. The retailer will also switch off digital screens to limit harsh light in-store.
Aldi states that it also welcomes assistance dogs in stores at all times.
What’s more, the use of JAM cards will also be rolled out in all ALDI stores to increase accessibility for all shoppers. JAM cards, which can be presented as a physical card or by app, offer discreet accessibility by allowing people to ask for a minute of patience in any situation they need.
Alongside these measures, store colleagues will also be briefed prior to the commencement of the autism-friendly hours and asked to consider noise levels and any additional needs customers may have.
Nicola Tipping, business development manager at Now Group, a social enterprise committed to supporting those with autism and learning difficulties, said the group was thrilled with the news.
“It is all about increasing public understanding and making things, such as a shop, which is an everyday necessity, become accessible for an autistic person just as it is for everybody else,” Tipping said.
“We are thrilled that Aldi are taking measures to address this by launching a nationwide roll out of autism-friendly hours, providing an opportunity for those with autism, a hidden disability, or a communication barrier, to shop without the crowds, noise and unpredictability.”
Talking about the adoption of the JAM Card, Tipping added: “We are proud to have been working with the staff at Aldi, training the team to become JAM Card friendly. Since launching the JAM Card initiative in 2012, the scheme has been a resounding success with more than 2,500 organisations across the country participating in the training programme.
“We hope that this announcement will encourage other organisations across all industries to see the benefits of joining us in committing to support and facilitate a more fully autism-inclusive and neurodiverse friendly society,” she added.
“At Aldi we understand that our customers often have diverse needs and requirements, and by implementing these measures to want to enhance the customer experience for those who may be sensitive to noise, bright lights or other sensory information,” said Liz Fox, corporate responsibility director at Aldi Ireland.