Friday, 19 July 2019


Why a Bath supermarket has been renamed Signsbury's The superstore sign changed overnight.

Bath has been chosen for the world’s first signing store. The iconic sign above Bath Sainsbury’s superstore at Green Park has been changed to Signsbury's overnight. Signsbury’s will be encouraging all colleagues and customers to sign with one another until Sunday (July 21). More than a hundred staff in the store have taken part in British Sign Language (BSL) lessons, delivered by local signing school I Can Sign. 

The lessons were supported by a colleague who is deaf, Sam Book and Rachel Shenton, the Oscar winning screenwriter who famously signed her 2018 acceptance speech. Staff will be signing several common words and phrases when interacting with customers – from greeting them at the door; to asking if they have a Nectar Card; and even discussing the weather. Elsewhere in the store, helpful screens have been installed which demonstrate how to sign different words and phrases, including ‘milk’, ‘trolley’ and ‘bananas,’ aiming to get customers involved in the initiative and to walk away from store with some newly learned phrases. 

Children will be able to Sign for a Snack. When they master how to sign basic words, they will be given free fruit. The move comes as part of Sainsbury’s 150 Days of Community scheme, launched as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations. The initiative sees its 185,000 colleagues across the UK given the opportunity to volunteer for a cause they feel passionately about in their local community. When store manager Paul Robertson and his team, including Mr Book, found out about the initiative, the idea of Signsbury’s was born. Mr Robertson said: “When I heard about our 150 Days of Community scheme, I thought it was the perfect time to use the opportunity to explore new ways to make our store more deaf-friendly. 

“We have many hard of hearing customers in Bath and always want to make their experience as brilliant as possible, and we hope Signsbury’s will help better their time in store even more.” Actress Rachel Shenton, who is an ambassador for the National Deaf Children's Society, Sainsbury's colleague Sam Book, who is deaf, and Paul Robertson, general manager of the store in Bath (Image: PA) It is estimated that around 11 million people in the UK live with hearing loss. It is hoped that this initiative will help to encourage better communication with those who are hard of hearing by creating a supportive environment. Sainsbury’s says it has long been committed to being the most inclusive retailer. 

Three years ago it launched the 2016 film Life Doesn’t Come Without Subtitles to teach colleagues and the public how to sign.  Oscar-winning actress Rachel Shenton explains why she backed Signsbury's initiative Tim Fallowfield, board sponsor for disability and carers at Sainsbury’s said: “We’re really excited to be launching this Signsbury’s initiative at our store in Bath. “We want to be the most inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop and it’s really important to us that we support both customers and colleagues with hearing difficulties to feel as comfortable as possible in our stores wherever we can.

“We’re really proud of Paul and the team at Bath who thought up this wonderful idea as part of our 150 Days of Community celebrations.”

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