*This is an ongoing monthly event*
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 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.
Customers can also pick up their autism booklets from any of our customer service desks or can download a guide from our accessibility page
We always strive to put our customers' needs first, therefore we have several accessible facilities in centre including accompanied shopping, shobmobility and our assisted changing facilities. Click here to read more about the services we provide in centre.
Sensory bags conditions of use:
The child MUST be a minimum of 5 years old.
The child/children/adult MUST only be supervised by a responsible adult (aged 18+).
The child/children must not be left unattended with the items at any time.
The Sensory bag must be handed back to the customer service desk of hire within 5 hours.
Please report signs of wear or damage to our customer service team.
The ear defenders and sunglasses have an age limit of 15 years old.
Please note: The Sensory Bag must only be used in the confines of the intu shopping centre from where it has been hired and is not to be taken outside the shopping centre.