Wellington Woolworths to offer 'quiet hour' to reduce sensory stress

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

A new program is being delivered at the Wellington Woolworths to help reduce anxiety and sensory stress for customers with specific needs.

Following a successful trial period in NSW and the ACT, Woolworths stores across the state, will now offer the low-sensory Quiet Hour to customers.

The program is designed to help customers with specific needs, including autism, by providing a quieter and less stimulating environment in store.

Autism Spectrum Australia estimates more than 300,000 (or 1 in 70) Australians are on the autism spectrum.

Woolworths will lower lights, turn down music and radio, and turn off oven buzzers for an hour every Tuesday between 10:30am and 11:30am.

The local shopping centre will join more than 260 stores nationally, including 87 in NSW and the ACT.

Woolworths NSW State Manager Michael Mackenzie said they have heard from customers there is a need in the community for a low sensory shopping experience in the area.

"Off the back of successful trials, we're delighted to expand Quiet Hour to stores in Western NSW for the benefit of even more customers," Mr Mackenzie said.

"Our team takes great pride in ensuring the store is quieter and less stressful for customers who want to shop during Quiet Hour and we look forward to welcoming them in store."

The low sensory initiative was developed in consultation with disability service providers at Life Without Barriers.

Life Without Barriers Chief Executive Claire Robbs said Quiet Hour is a fantastic accessibility initiative by Woolworths that recognises that people have different accessibility needs.

"It gives people a way to do their shopping and increase their independence in an environment that is not stressful and overwhelming to them," Ms Robbs said.