The Co-operative Group is running a ‘quiet hour’ throughout its stores on 2 October, in support of the National Autism Society’s Autism Hour.

All 2,500 Co-op shops will switch off their radios, turn off TV screens and stop tannoy announcements, in an effort to make their sites more autism friendly.

The hour will take place between 10am-11am on October 2 and is designed to give autistic people a break from the usual overload of in-store noise.

Co-op marketing communications director Amanda Jennings said: “As a community retailer it’s important that we listen to our colleagues, members and customers and adapt our stores to support all members of the community where we can.

“Co-op members have told us that this is important to them and that’s why it’s important to us. We are proud to be supporting The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour and we are currently looking into what changes we can make to our in-store radio programme.”

National Autistic Society CEO Mark Lever said: “It is really encouraging to see shops and services such as Co-op getting involved in the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour. Like anyone, people on the autism spectrum and their families want the opportunity to go to the shops. But many find the often busy, loud and unpredictable environment of public places overwhelming and avoid them altogether.”