January 02 - January 08, 2023

Sunderland’s flagship shopping centre is launching a weekly hour of peace and tranquillity to help visitors who need calmer surroundings.

The Bridges has designated 11am until noon on Sundays Quiet Hour and during that time the centre and participating stores will not play music and children’s rides will not be operating, in a bid to create a more relaxed and calmer atmosphere.

Karen Eve, Centre Director at the Bridges, believes the scheme will be well received.

“While it’s great news that shops are all back open, we are well aware that for some people crowds, lots of lights and noise can be overwhelming and stressful,” she said.

“This quiet hour will mean the people who need calmer surroundings such as some of our elderly shoppers or families with members who have additional needs can shop in a much more relaxed setting.”

Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager at the North East Autism Society praised the Bridges on its new initiative.

“It’s fantastic to see local businesses like The Bridges adapting their practices and taking into account the sensory needs and differences of autistic and/or neurodiverse individuals,” she said.

“Something as simple as ‘Quiet Hour’ really can make such a difference to the lives of many families across the North East.”

The North East Autism Society has been a leading provider of neurodiversity and autism-specific care, education, training and employment services across the North East of England.