Co-op to launch pilot project in Leicestershire to introduce relaxed checkout for vulnerable people
A Central England Co-op Food Store in Leicestershire is trialling the introduction of a relaxed checkout lane to help support vulnerable customers.
Oakham Food Store, in Burley Road, is one of two sites in the Midlands handpicked to part of a pilot project aimed at customers who need or would like a little extra time at the till.
It is hoped that the designated ‘extra time’ checkout lane will prove useful for elderly shoppers, those with mental health needs or social anxiety, shoppers suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and people with autism.
Checkout colleagues have been trained to identify any special needs of customers and operate at a speed that suits them.
Store Manager Alan Shelton said: “We are really proud to be trialling the ‘extra time’ checkout project for our customers and members in Oakham.
“The special lane means that there will be no rush or pressure to get items on to the conveyor belt and packed away at the other end.
“Our new relaxed checkout is open to all and we want people to feel free to take as long as they need to go through the checkout.
“Whether a customer has a medical condition which requires them to take things a little easier, or they value an extra couple of minutes to chat to their checkout colleague, we want them to be confident they can shop at their own pace when visiting a Central England Co-op Food Store.
“Everyone here hopes this provides a happier shopping experience for people who need a little bit of extra time at the checkout.”
The ‘extra time’ checkout lane will be clearly signposted with posters and will be in operation from 10am to noon every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The trial project will run for three weeks starting in the week commencing August 27 and is also taking place in a Food Store, in Ripley, Derbyshire.
The launch of this pilot scheme comes as part of the Society’s ongoing commitment to break the silence around mental health for colleagues and customers and efforts to provide more support to its corporate charity partner Dementia UK.
Paul Edwards, Director of Clinical Services at Dementia UK, said: “This thoughtful move from our partners at Central England Co-Operative will really help people with dementia and other issues in their day-to-day lives.
“Going through a shop checkout can be a fast, noisy experience, which can be quite unsettling for someone living with dementia.
“The Extra Time Checkout is an excellent initiative to make people with dementia feel welcome and respected, while helping them to live fulfilling, independent lives.”
Notes to editors
Picture caption: Central England Co-op colleague Ashley Seagrave showcasing the trial Extra Time Checkout trial poster.
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.
Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.
Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility. It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence. The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.
Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth / Heather Clapton at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140