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Ipswich: John Lewis at home and Waitrose staff learn about helping customers with disabilities

14:32 25 May 2014

Sensing Change at John Lewis

Sensing Change at John Lewis


While many people were on their lunch break, a group of partners (employees) from John Lewis at home and Waitrose in Ipswich, were taking part in unique training.


Sensing Change, Suffolk’s leading provider of support for people with sight and/or hearing loss, was on site, helping staff understand the impact of sensory loss and to learn important communication skills.

Ten John Lewis Partners, as well as five colleagues from the Waitrose branch, spent time learning about different causes and types of sight and hearing loss, as well as tactics for sighted guiding and communication. They were also able to find out about various pieces of equipment and technology, which can help people with sensory loss to live more independently.

Experienced trainers, Tina Winwood and Lisa Johnson led a lively and proactive session, which all the trainees found to be interesting and insightful.

Caroline Kennedy, a John Lewis Partner involved in the training, saidL: “I really feel like I’ve learned something today. The training has made me aware of some of the difficulties that people who have lost their sight or their hearing have to overcome. I think the techniques we’ve learned today will be really useful, both at work and in my day-to-day life.”.

Alex Catling, Sensing Change’s practice manager, said that she was delighted that John Lewis had decided to run the sensory awareness training as part of their ongoing commitment to exceptional customer service.

She said: “It’s so important to raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing people with sight and/or hearing loss; we’re hoping that John Lewis’ initiative will be seen as a benchmark amongst major companies and retailers in the area – and that others will follow their example and run our sensory awareness training.”

Sam Russo, John Lewis’ manager of branch operations in Ipswich, said that Sensing Change’s sensory awareness training fitted perfectly with John Lewis’ ethos of providing excellent customer service.

“We see this training as a positive way for us to better understand and serve our customers. We want people to know that when they shop with us, whatever their circumstances, we will have staff on hand with the knowledge and training to help them”.

To find out more about how Sensing Change could help you, or someone you care for, with sight and/or hearing loss, or to book a sensory awareness course for your company, contact Alex Catling at Sensing Change on 01473 260030 or via email at


1 comment

  • Well done John Lewis again at the forefront of customer service. Another reason why they are held in high esteem by their customers. This training should also be mandatory for all public service employees who have face to face dealing with their customers.

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