THE Thistles in Stirling has announced regular quiet hour events to improve the shopping experience of customers with autism.

Following a successful trial last October, the initiative will become a regular fixture a the centre beginning next month.

Bosses confirmed the policy would be extended following positive feedback received from both customers and retailers.

It will now take place in the centre on the first Sunday of every month between 10-11am, beginning on February 4.

Stores in the shopping centre will participate in the quiet hour by adjusting their lighting where possible and turning off in-store music.

A spokesperson for The Thistles said: "We are pleased to be announcing this long-term commitment to holding a quiet hour in the centre.

"The feedback to this fantastic initiative, that was trialled in The Thistles at the end of 2017, was resoundingly positive.

"We are delighted to be playing our part in raising awareness of the very real challenges autistic people face in their daily lives by now rolling it out once a month through 2018."

The Thistles has been working alongside national charity Scottish Autism to build understanding of the condition across the retailers.

There will also be information on display where the public can find out more about autism and the types of support available.

Charlene Tait, director of autism practice and research at Scottish Autism, added: "The bright lights, music and smells in a shopping centre can be overwhelming for autistic people and their families.

"We are delighted to support this initiative where small adjustments can make for a more relaxed environment for autistic people and those with sensory conditions."