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Road map for change to introduce best-in-class initiatives

Autism affects between 1-2% of the population and there are at least 50,000 families with an autistic child in Ireland. SuperValu is already leading the charge when it comes to initiatives that support those families with Autism friendly shopping evenings already happening in just under 40 SuperValu stores around the country.

SuperValu are committed to building on this by enhancing the shopping experience through a roadmap for change which in time will be rolled out in stores around the country. This will be rolled out across the next 12 months.

Heralded as ‘world-class’, the new initiatives have been designed in conjunction with the Middletown Centre for Autism, as well as Autism friendly trolleys in as many stores, some of the new initiatives include;

  • Autism Friendly shopping times – a commitment to rolling sensory friendly times in more stores across the next year.
  • Development of Store Mapsto pre-plan the store visit indicating the main areas and quiet areas in store.
  • De-sensitisation of store sounds at designated shopping times: with downloadable store sounds to assist in de-stressing the store visit;
  • Reduce & standardise beep sounds on tills in stores nationwide;
  • Staff awareness: E-learning modules available to all staff to tackle a general lack of awareness around autism and educate on how the steps taken in store will make a difference;
  • Autism friendly trolleys: Support the use of the ALF (Autism Lifeskill Friend) trolley – developed by a SuperValu employee;
  • An expert panel established to meet three times a year to ensure that all initiatives are impactful, and relevant for families with autism

Speaking at the launch Gary Cooper, CEO Middletown Centre for Autism said, ‘I welcome the development of the inclusive environments that are being created in store for the autism community and commend the Supervalu team for their foresight and commitment to this world-class initiative.’

SuperValu Marketing Director, Des O’Mahony said, “We began this journey 18 months ago with Autism Friendly shopping times and the introduction of an Autism friendly trolley in a small number of stores and the response was overwhelmingly positive. It was important for us to make sure that any next steps we took were the right ones to create a holistic support structure for families with Autism; that we were working to create a mind-set change as well as an infrastructural one. We have been working hard with the Middletown Centre for Autism to create online and instore material that will provide support for families with autism as well as raise awareness among the wider community.”

Mr Finian McGrath TD, was also in attendance at the launch, “I am delighted to see SuperValu leading the change in providing this vital support for members of the Autistic community. With a SuperValu store in so many towns across the length and breadth of the country it is fantastic that SuperValu is committed to rolling this enhanced shopping experience out in more stores.

To find out more about the Autism friendly initiatives and to download specific maps for your area, visit www.supervalu.ie.

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