Students from Derwen College visited Sainsbury’s in Oswestry to support the store’s Autistic Hour event.
Retail students from the specialist FE college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including autism, visited the store to show their backing for the event. This is the third year that Derwen College has supported the initiative.
Students helped customers and Sainsbury’s staff, including General Merchandise and Clothing manager Laura Sandison, to make their own Autism awareness badges.
Sainsbury’s has teamed up with autism charity, the National Autistic Society, to support Autism Hour, where shops take steps to create a calmer atmosphere for 60 minutes. This offers autistic people a break from the usual overload of too much information. Simple measures such as turning down the tannoy, self checkout sounds and café music can make a big impact.
The store also took the opportunity to launch its nationwide rollout of sunflower lanyards to help enhance the shopping experience for customers with hidden disabilities. The discreet lanyards indicate that a customer may need extra support or time; they are available to collect free from stores.
Sainsbury’s Tammy Williams said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Derwen College students along to support our Autism Hour, to make badges and talk to our customers.
“We are pleased to be able to offer Autism Hours to make the shopping experience a less anxious one for people with autism. It was also a good opportunity to introduce shoppers to our sunflower lanyard initiative supporting people with hidden disabilities and conditions including autism.”
The students from Derwen College work in the on-site Karten Print Shop, where they produce the college’s marketing materials and undertake orders for outside local businesses. The college offers a wealth of work placement opportunities to students in its shopping and leisure areas which include The Orangery Restaurant, Garden Café, Hotel 751, and Garden Centre and Shop.