Time and compassion given for a slower shopping experience in Braintree

Time and compassion given for a slower shopping experience in Braintree

Launch photo

Retailers in George Yard shopping centre in Braintree will be trialling a weekly, slow shopping experience which starts on Thursday 28th February from 2pm-4pm.

Braintree District Council and George Yard Shopping Centre are bringing this new initiative to the town which is aimed at providing better shopping experiences for residents. It is for anyone with visible, invisible or intellectual disabilities who may find shopping stressful or challenging. It will also benefit carers where extra support will be available whilst they are shopping with the people they care for.

Slow Shopping is a registered charity and was created by Katherine Vero, whose own mother was living with dementia.  Katherine said, “The experience of shopping became increasingly stressful and I was left trying to mediate between my mother and the staff in the shop, who were not always understanding. After a bad shopping experience I was left feeling embarrassed and isolated. I came up with Slow Shopping to provide a welcoming and safe environment for anyone who needed to take more time to do their shopping.”

Retailers can make a simple and small change to create a better environment for shoppers who may need extra support, such as:

  • Dedicated times within the week, where staff are aware of the needs of their shoppers and allows them time and space to shop
  • Chairs may be available within the shop so that people can pause and rest
  • Help points in larger stores where staff are aware of the needs of their shoppers
  • Dimmer lights and softer or quieter music

Retailers signed up to the scheme are displaying a Slow Shopping window sticker.  After this pilot the scheme is looking to be rolled out across the district.

Councillor Peter Tattersley, Cabinet Member for Health and Communities said, “As a Dementia Friendly town we are always on lookout for initiatives that supports and includes all members of our community. The health & well-being of our residents is extremely important to us which is demonstrated by our investment into health facilities, our livewell campaign and as highlighted in our corporate strategy; putting residents’ health at the heart of what we do.”

Lewis Urwin, Manager at Boots Chemist said, “We immediately agreed to support slow shopping as health & well-being is paramount to what we do. We want to ensure everyone has the best possible experience in our shop.  During our slow shopping hours we will have one of our staff on the shop floor, clearly wearing a slow shopping badge, to offer help and support to anyone who needs it.”

Watch a short video about the project.