Lidl to trial autism friendly shopping evenings in Northern Ireland

Lidl Northern Ireland, in partnership with the National Autistic Society Northern Ireland, has announced today that it will be trialling autism friendly quiet evenings in its Newry Damolly and Newtownards stores. Every Tuesday in October between 6pm and 8pm there will be dimmed lighting, no in-store announcements or music, priority queueing for people and families dealing with autism as well as extra assistance upon request.

The suggestion to trial the quiet evenings was made by one of Lidl’s team members as they have personal experience of autism and an appreciation for how a few simple changes can positively enhance the shopping experience.

Both the Newry Damolly and Newtownards stores have been selected as the initial trial locations and staff have undertaken autism awareness training in conjunction with the National Autistic Society Northern Ireland. Together they want to ensure that the experience is beneficial to families who are struggling to manage tasks such as the weekly shop.

Deirdre Ryan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Lidl Northern Ireland says:
“Public spaces can be overwhelming for anyone with autism and, as with everything we do in Lidl, we put the customer first and want to ensure any concept is fully tested and delivers positive results for all involved. Pending the learnings from the trials we will then make a decision on introducing autism friendly shopping evenings in more locations.”

An in-store map will also be available for children with autism to plan and organise their shopping trips which will add structure and routine to help them deal with otherwise chaotic experiences.