Waterford Retail Park to lead the way in sensory-friendly shopping
Waterford Retail Park is leading the way in sensory-friendly shopping to make store visits easier for people with autism and other sensory difficulties.
The project was launched in Waterford over the weekend.
Initiatives will include the availability of peaked caps for people with autism and other sensory issues which will block out light and help staff to identify people who may need assistance.
Trips to the shops can be stressful for autistic adults and children and they can be overwhelmed by sensory experiences.
Peaked caps reduce the possibility of sensory overload.
Waterford Retail Park asset manager Sigma Retail Partners, which manages a number of retail parks across Ireland, is making the customer experience easier for families of children with special needs.
Working closely with stores, Waterford Retail Park will provide advice to store staff and develop inclusive activities to improve the customer experience.
These will include ‘quiet hours’ to facilitate visits by people with autism and other sensory difficulties which will be advertised on the Park’s Facebook page.
“There needs to be bigger and better awareness of autism in our communities across the country and Waterford Retail Park is more than happy to lead the way,” said Sigma’s Jenna Culligan, asset manager at Waterford.
“True autism-friendliness means that we welcome you, and we understand that sometimes you may need additional support and we are happy to provide it.
“Waterford Retail Park plans to host other autism-awareness events and fundraising initiatives.”
Last June, Sigma unveiled its Parkway Retail Park facility in Limerick as Ireland’s First Autism and Sensory-Friendly retail park.
The project is part of Sigma’s commitment to social responsibility. ‘Do Well by Doing Good’ is the theme of Sigma’s 2019 corporate responsibility programme.
Participating stores, where Sigma will provide advice to store staff, are: Currys PC World, EZ Living Interiors, Halfords, Harvey Norman, Home Focus, Home Store and More, and Maxi Zoo.