SA’s First Shopping Centre ‘Quiet Hour’ Is Coming To Brickworks

The Torrensville shopping centre’s three major retailers, Woolworths, Big W and Tony & Marks, as well as the mall spaces, have committed to going quiet for an hour on Monday.

Image sourced via @brickworksmarketplace

In a South Australian first, Brickworks Marketplace and Cara will host the first shopping centre Quiet Hour next week! 

The Torrensville shopping centre’s three major retailers, Woolworths, Big W and Tony & Marks, as well as the mall spaces, have committed to going quiet for an hour on Monday, August 26 from 10.30am to 11.30am and the smaller speciality stores are all invited to join in. 

The aim is to then be one of the first shopping centres in Australia to roll out a Quiet Hour each month. 

Quiet Hour is designed to help make the shopping experience less stressful for people who experience sensory overload. Some of the lights will be turned down, the music and pager messages will be silent, the sounds on the checkouts will been lowered and there will been a “pause” in restocking of shelves and trolley replacement for one hour. 

Brickworks Marketplace is partnering with Cara, one of South Australia’s leading disability service providers. Cara’s skilled staff, who have experience in working alongside children and adults with disability, will assist with Quiet Hour and be on hand to answer any questions. 

Cara Chief Executive Liz Cohen said Cara was thrilled to roll out its successful Quiet Hour to a shopping centre, after starting Quiet Hour in Australia in 2016 with The Good Guys Mile End and Foodland at Frewville and Pasadena. 

“There are plenty of people who find the regular shopping experience too overwhelming – sights, sounds, smells – it can be too much. We know that’s often the case for people who experience sensory overload, which isn’t uncommon for people with autism,” Ms Cohen says. 

“While there are other sensory-friendly shopping experiences or opportunities, the beauty of Cara’s Quiet Hour is that anyone can come along and shop. They don’t need to pre-book, they don’t need to tell anyone, they can just come along and do their shopping like everyone else. 

“It goes a long way to ensuring that people of all abilities feel welcome in sharing everyday spaces and we’re so thrilled that Brickworks Marketplace is leading the way with us.” 

Mandy Beresford, Brickworks Marketplace Centre Manager said “We feel this is a really important step towards bringing our community together, in not only raising awareness for many people living with disabilities, but also to assist in bringing convenience to our community. We understand that by recognising the challenges some individuals and families experience within the regular shopping environment and by making small changes for one hour in Quiet Hour, we are a creating a welcoming experience for children and adults who have disabilities. 

“We have had a fantastic response from our major retailers, who have been very open to supporting our trial in centre. We are excited to see where this initiative leads us in eventually rolling out a centre wide Quiet Hour at Brickworks Marketplace and further engaging with our community.” 

What is sensory overload? 

If you’ve ever been in a busy crowd at the Royal Show, you’ll have an idea of what sensory overload can feel like. Bright lights, strong smells, people in your personal space to the point where it’s overwhelming – that’s what sensory overload can feel like. 

Not uncommon for people with autism, sensory overload can make people extra-sensitive to things others may not notice. A standard fluorescent light can flicker like a strobe light or buzz loudly, music can be overwhelming, smells can be extremely strong and they may need more personal space.

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