Quiet hours will take place first Tuesday of every month from 10am until 11am and the first Saturday of every month from 9am-10am.
For some people, shopping centres can be a stressful experience. If you see, hear, or feel the world in a different way, we'll be making simple steps to improve the shopping experience for our customers throughout the year with our Quiet Hours.
From autism to dementia, this hour is for anyone who prefers a more quiet setting within intu Metrocentre. We'll turn down the music, dim the lights, and our staff will be on hand with guides to the centre that may be of use. Our Quiet Hours will run on the first Tuesday and Saturday of every month from 10am-11am Tuesdays and 9am-10am Saturdays.
All participating retailers, restaurants and leisure facilities will commit to a minimum of:
- Reducing noise of in store music and tannoy announcements: Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to austistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store announcements and other controllable noise will be reduced.
- Dimming lights: Wherever possible, while maintaining safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.
- Sharing information: Information will provided to our staff to make your experience at intu Metrocentre a positive one. We will receive information about autism in advance with employees so they know what to expect from customers’ behaviour and how they might be able to help.
The Sensory Bags:
From 5 April, you may hire the sensory bags from any of our four customer service desk at intu Metrocentre and cost £20 refundable deposit which you will receive upon returning the bag.
The backpacks and it's contents have been chosen by families supported by North East Autism Society. The contents of the backpack aims to help make shopping experiences easier for autistic people and their families:
- Ear defenders: Some autistic people can become overwhelmed by sounds and noises and this can lead to anxiety and stress. Ear defenders help to dull down some of this noise and can offer reassurances to autistic people when in a shopping centre.
- Egg timers: Some autistic people may find transition difficult and it often helps to give the child a countdown before moving on to the next thing. In a shopping centre these egg timers could be used to visually represent the passing of time. For example how long the person may be in a specific shop or how long they have left until lunch time.
- Visual symbols: Autistic people may find unpredictability difficult to manage and it may increase anxiety. Visual symbols help to communicate messages without the need for verbal information, which may further overwhelm the individual.
- Fidget toys: Helps autistic people manage an increase in anxiety.
- Autism Awareness Guides: Includes Awareness card, guides to the centre to demonstrate quiet and loud areas and best times to visit the centre. The guides also include an orange wrist band, if you see a customer wearing one of these bands, this is to inform staff that they are autistic.
- Sunglasses: Some autistic indiviudals may find it difficult to process all the different lights and visual stimulus which are within the shopping centre. Sunglasses can act as a tool to “tone down” some of the visual input.
For further information, please see the attached documents below or visit into Metrocentre's website.