Tesco Mobile rolls out sensory support box initative

Tesco Mobile has rolled out a sensory support box initiative to coincide with Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

The initiative, which has launched as a large-scale trial in 50 phone shops across the country, is supported by the National Autistic Society and aims to make visiting a Tesco Mobile phone shop a more positive experience for neurodiverse customers.

Tesco Mobile’s Sensory Support Boxes include noise cancelling ear defenders and sunglasses, as well as emotion cards to help customers, particularly children, communicate their feelings easily (who may be non-verbal).

They also include a selection of fidget toys, which encourage focus and can help with coping mechanisms like stimming. 

The initiative comes after interviews and research conducted with neurodivergent consumers and parents of neurodivergent children identified that in-store shopping in general can be ‘challenging’.

The research found noise and lighting were the two most mentioned causes of overstimulation for those who participated.  

Participants referenced that they ‘try to avoid’ going into shops and stores as much as possible and have frequently adapted shopping times to earlier in the morning due to the impact of busier periods. 

Tesco Mobile will be trialling its Sensory Support Boxes in 50 phone shops across the country, off the back of a successful launch in an initial 10 stores.

To further improve instore experience, specialised training to support customers with hidden disabilities who wear sunflower lanyards, has been rolled out to all Tesco Mobile stores.

"At Tesco Mobile, we're proud to be leading the way and making shopping experiences more accessible and enjoyable for our customers," the company's diversity, equity and inclusion manager, Tom Davis said.

"Customers who visit our phone shops are often digesting quite a bit of information and making decisions that require attention and focus, which may be difficult and overwhelming. 

"We intend to roll out the sensory boxes to all 500 of our phone shops across the UK as well as continuing to develop them to ensure they are as helpful as possible for a diverse range of needs." 

National Autistic Society managing director of nationall programmes, Peter Watt added: "We are pleased to support this initiative to improve the experience of visiting Tesco Mobile stores for autistic people and their families, and we look forward to seeing the results of the trial in shops across the country.

"Retail spaces can be overwhelming for many autistic people, but small changes can make a huge difference. It’s so important that all shops and businesses consider autistic people's needs and learn more about how to be accessible and inclusive for everyone." 

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