A SUPERMARKET in Alloa is to introduce a quieter hour for customers who would benefit from a calmer shopping trip.

Designed to help those who struggle with music and other noises, it will take place every Saturday at Morrisons in Alloa, Clackmannan Road, 9-10am.

For many people who are autistic, or those with autistic children, shopping in a supermarket can be an anxious experience.

Don Green, community champion at the store, said: “There are so many people in the area with autism and we hope that it will go on to show that we are trying to do something to make their lives just that little bit easier, even if it is only for one hour per week.

“What the hour entails will be; no tannoy call outs or announcements, no cages being worked in aisles or obstructions.

“The volume on tills will be decreased and the lighting will be dimmed ever so slightly.

“Phones will be on silent and, if possible, there will be no trolley collection in that hour.

“We hope that it will go a little way forward in easing the lives of those with such difficulties.”

The Quieter Hour initiative is created with support from the National Autistic Society.

Daniel Cadey from the charity said: “Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.

“This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way.

“Morrisons’ quieter hour is a step in the right direction for autistic people who find supermarket shopping a real struggle.”

The retailer carried out a trial earlier in the year in three of its stores to find out what improvements can be made and to find a convenient time each week for the quieter hour.

Charlene Tait, deputy CEO at Scottish Autism, has praised the move and said: “Shopping can be a stressful experience for autistic people and their families.

“The bright lights, music and smells can be overwhelming and can result in some autistic people avoiding shopping altogether.

“We welcome initiatives such as these, where small adjustments can make for a more relaxed environment for autistic people and their families.”

The supermarket plans to place a poster outside to tell customers it is quieter hour.

In addition, Morrisons will work to improve awareness among colleagues of the issues autistic customers face in store.

The supermarket joins a number of other outlets that have organised similar schemes for those with autism, or who experience sensory overload.

In 2017, Tesco in Alloa announced many of the store’s electronic systems – including the PA, music and TVs – could be turned off on Wednesday evenings, 6-7pm.

At the beginning of the year, The Thistles in Stirling started regular quiet hour events following a successful trial.