HSBC is introducing a weekly ‘quiet hour’ across all of its branches in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to create a more calming experience for customers who may otherwise find it difficult to visit a branch.
The ‘quiet hour’ will take place every Thursday from 10:30-11:30am to support customers with sensory sensitivities such as autism, ADHD, dementia, anxiety and learning disabilities.
The branches will facilitate a more relaxing and enjoyable banking experience by reducing background noise, turning off the in-branch radio and limiting noise from phones. Staff will be available in the branch during that hour but won’t proactively approach customers in order to keep noise to a minimum. Private meeting rooms will continue to be available.
Alistair Philp (shown in the main picture), Head of Retail Distribution, said: “We want to make sure customers find our branches as inclusive and accessible as possible, and a ‘quiet hour’ should help to reduce potentially stressful distractions for people who may have hidden disabilities.”
HSBC’s ‘Ability’ employee group, has helped to drive this initiative. The team support people and carers of individuals with both visible and hidden physical and mental health challenges. Oliver Etienne, Chair of ‘Ability’, said: “By creating a calmer environment in our branches, we are working towards ensuring that all of our customers can use the bank’s services without feeling overwhelmed or over-stimulated.”
Lesley Harrison, Head of Charitable Services at Autism Jersey commented on the impact that HSBC’s quiet hour will have in its Jersey branches: “Community partnerships are invaluable if we are to continue to create a diverse and inclusive society. We are thrilled that HSBC will be supporting a quiet hour across all their branches, which demonstrates how just some of the smallest of changes can make a huge difference to people with autism and sensory needs”.
Julie Bulpitt, Co-ordinator for charity Dementia Friendly Guernsey, commented on the impact that HSBC’s quiet hour will have in its Guernsey branches: ‘‘With over 1,200 people living with dementia within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, HSBC’s quiet hour will greatly benefit those who would prefer a more relaxed environment when visiting their branch. It will not only help those living with dementia but their carers too.”