Central Co-op Trialling ‘Quiet Hours’ to Mark Neurodiversity Week

Posted by sam bishop | Published: 17/03/2023

As part of Central Co-op's purpose of creating a sustainable Society for all, the Society is marking Neurodiversity Week by announcing a trial of Quiet Hours in four of its major stores: 

  • Boley Park, Lichfield, Staffordshire 
  • Burton Road, Littleover, Derbyshire 
  • Quorn, Loughborough, Leicestershire 
  • Anson Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire 

These Quiet Hours will run every Monday between 10am and 11am, starting this month. As a part of this trial Central Co-op has carefully considered how different sensory needs affect the shopping experience, which is why these Quiet Hours will attempt to reduce noise and lighting distractions where possible. 

Neurodiversity Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences, and Central Co-op recognises that customers and Members experience the world in different ways. The goal with Quiet Hours is to provide alternative shopping conditions for those who want a calmer, quieter experience, including those with Autism and Anxiety, but the Quiet Hours may also benefit the elderly, those struggling with mental health, or those simply wanting a calmer shopping environment. 

Central Co-op is always looking for ways to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for customers and Members, and in December announced the sale of The Sebbie Hall Kindness Foundation’s Kindness Bears in select stores in Lichfield. The Foundation funds projects to combat loneliness in disadvantaged and disabled young people, and all profits from the sale of bears in Central Co-op stores go to the Foundation. 

Naomi Smith, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager, said: “With Neurodiversity Week we wanted to look into how we can continue to make Central Co-op a welcoming place for all. If we can make some small changes in stores to cater for sensory sensitivities, we’re happy to do that if it means it helps some customers with the shopping experience, and we’re eager to hear feedback on the Quiet Hours while we continue to look at other ways to become more inclusive.” 

For further details, head to the Central Co-op website, Facebook, and Twitter. Details on becoming a Member can be found on the Membership site


About Central Co-op 

Central Co-op is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK, with a heritage stretching back over 175 years and interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.  

Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,700 colleagues serve customers across 440 plus trading sites in 21 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.   

Its purpose is to create a sustainable Society for all.   

It actively campaigns for food justice and works with FareShare Midlands and a network of local food banks. It also adds £1 to every Healthy Start Voucher redeemed in store and supports six schools in partnership with Magic Breakfasts.

The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. The Society is also a member of Diversity in Retail and it is fully committed to addressing the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon and food waste, increasing recycling and investment in community Sustainable Spaces funded by the carrier bag levy. It recently launched its Malawi Partnership to support farmers and producers in the country through the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund.  

It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £109,769.25 shared out between 121 good causes in 2022. 

Press office contact: Sam Bishop, PR Specialist  

Contact details:   


07385 048048