Sainsbury’s has responded to calls from parents with disabled children for a more secure shopping trolley and, after months of testing a prototype with parents and children, the retailer has today announced that they will begin introducing nearly 600 of the new trolleys to supermarket stores across the UK from 15 September.
All Sainsbury’s supermarkets will have at least one of the new trolleys, which are designed for disabled children aged 3-8 years, by the end of October.
In April this year, after reading articles by parents Maria Box and Stacie Lewis about how difficult they found shopping with the current trolleys used by supermarkets, Sainsbury’s invited them to trial the prototype trolley at their local Sainsbury’s store. Their feedback was used to develop the perfect trolley.
Key features of the new trolley:
Commenting on the new trolleys Maria Box, whose 5 year old son Ryan has autism, said: "I am thrilled that Sainsbury’s has invested in these trolleys. All parents with disabled children know how stressful it can be to take them shopping. It had got to the point where I couldn’t go shopping with Ryan because he had outgrown the seat. In this new trolley he is properly supported, safe and happy. It will revolutionise our shopping trips.
"The other benefit is that people now look at the trolley and understand that there could be a reason why Ryan is distressed, rather than the usual label of being a 'naughty child,' which we so often have to endure when out in public."
Stacie Lewis mother of May, aged 5 who suffered brain damage at birth, said: "Before my daughter, May, could use an accessible trolley, our choices were severely limited. We could use her wheelchair in the store and carry a basket; pushing her and a shopping trolley was impossible. But, a shopping basket only fits enough food for an evening and even then, it was very difficult to push her wheelchair while carrying one. The only real option was leaving her at home and excluding her from a normal family activity.
"Now, she can go shopping with us again. She enjoys the sounds and stimulation of shopping. She is not excluded from normal life and we are not either. Because this is what people don't realise; as soon as an activity is made inaccessible to May, it is made inaccessible to our whole family."
Announcing the introduction of the new trolleys Hannah Bernard, Sainsbury’s Director of Customer Experience said: "We were reviewing our range of trolleys when we read about Maria’s experience and Stacie’s call for supermarkets to introduce a new trolley for disabled children. We immediately contacted them and invited them to trial our new trolley with their children.
"We always had trolleys for parents with disabled children but they weren’t appropriate for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism. We hope these new trolleys will make shopping much easier for thousands of parents like Stacie and Maria and are very grateful to them for helping us with the design."
Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for Disabled People said: "It’s excellent news that Sainsbury’s are taking steps to improve the shopping experience for disabled people. This new trolley should serve as a benchmark for others in the retail sector."