Southend Metro Bank has been opening early exclusively for bespoke appointments to support families with autistic children. The community bank recognises that during normal opening hours, a busy banking hall with shiny surfaces and a loud coin counting Magic Money Machine can be a stressful situation for people who are sensitive to light and noise.
The store was originally contacted by the charity Little Heroes ASD Support Group - a parent led support group for families of children who are on the autistic spectrum. The charity recently started new sessions for teenagers and young adults, looking at the journey into adulthood and everything that comes with that, from opening a bank account to independent living and everything in between.
“These out of hours appointments have been game changing for these families,” explains Southend Metro Bank Store Manager James Farmer. “It is such a simple service that we can offer as a community bank. Just by making a few adjustments - like opening early and keeping the lights turned down low - we can easily provide the right environment for people who need more time and space to deal with their banking servces, as well as giving new customers the chance to open accounts in a calmer and more relaxed environment.”
Here is what one mum said about the experience;” Thank you for your support in opening a bank account at Metro Bank. Little Heroes booked the appointment for us and we met at 8am where a colleague met us while staying calm and quiet. It was great for us that the bank was completely empty with no music playing, it made my girls feel at ease from the moment we walked through the door.”
A spokesperson for Little Heroes said: “We would like to thank Metro Bank Southend for working with us to enable these young adults to open their own accounts and make it a positive experience which should they need to go to the bank again for anything know that they will be helped in a positive way.”
Metro Bank is one of the founding charter members of Neurodiversity in Business (NiB) – a new industry forum to support the participation of neurodivergent individuals in the workplace.
Metro Bank’s Southend store can be found at G19-G21 The Victoria Centre, SS1 2NG. The store is currently open Monday – Saturday 8:30am - 6pm. Sunday: 11am - 5pm.