The ‘sunflower lanyard’ initiative offers shoppers the option to pick up and wear a lanyard, which features a sunflower design and serves as a discreet sign for staff to recognise if customers need additional support in-store. The lanyards are available to collect for free and are for each customer to keep so they can wear it every time they come into store.
Launched initially at Sainsbury’s Barnstaple branch, the scheme is being rolled out to more stores this month.
The initiative aims to help those with disabilities such as autism, dementia, visual or hearing impairment. Staff are trained to provide extra support such as opening a new checkout lane, assisting with finding shopping items or simply giving shoppers more time at the checkout.
Tim Fallowfield, company secretary & corporate services director for Sainsbury’s, explained: “We want to be the most inclusive retailer and we understand that a busy supermarket environment can present challenges for some of our customers.
“As the first retailer to offer this service, this initiative is just one example of the steps we are taking to give our customers the best possible experience when shopping. We are working with our colleagues to ensure that they are fully equipped to provide assistance to those who need it and we encourage feedback from local communities where we are trialling the initiative.”
Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society, said: “It’s great to see a supermarket like Sainsbury’s lead the way in trialling initiatives like this. Busy shopping environments can sometimes overwhelm autistic customers and others with hidden disabilities. By introducing schemes like this, Sainsbury’s is continuing to take important steps towards our shared vision of making shops and businesses across the UK autism friendly.”
Along with the Barnstaple store, the additional stores confirmed to participate in the rollout of the trial are: Ware Star Street Local, Broxbourne High Road Local, Chingford, Enfield Bush Hill Park Local, Enfield London Road Local, Enfield Lancaster Road Local, Enfield, Buntingford High Street Local, Debden, Palmers Green Lanes Local, Waltham Cross, Harlow, Bishops Stortford, Hertford, Low Hall, Borehamwood Shenley Road Local, Hoddesdon, Welwyn Garden City, Thorley, London Colney, Chipping Ongar, Highlands Village, Stevenage, Coreys Mill, Woodford Green The Broadway Local, Loughton Church Hill Local, Winchmore Hill, Loughton, Potters Bar, Gorseinon, Selly Oak, Newport, Mere Green, Alphington Road, Truro, Monks Cross, York Foss Bank, and Cheltenham Bath Road.