A trip to the shops is something most of us take for granted but for those living with autism the busy shopping environment can sometimes be just too much.
On Monday 2nd October, at 2.30pm, Prospect Centre will take 60 minutes to provide visitors with autism a more comfortable shopping experience by turning down background music and dimming lights where possible in support of The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.
There will also be a free sensory play area and members of NAS will be on hand to offer free advice for family, friends and carers.
Maria Kamper, centre manager, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour.
“We have asked all stores to turn down music and dim lights where possible from 2.30pm to show our support to the millions of shoppers who struggle with the hustle, bustle and noise that a busy shopping centre can generate.
“We want to ensure that everyone who visits Prospect Centre leaves with a smile on their face and we aim to provide a welcoming and accessible experience for all.”
According to the NAS 64% of autistic people and their families avoid even going out to the shops because the noise levels and glaringly bright lights are too overwhelming. Autistic people can tend to have all senses firing information all at once with no filter making the average shopping trip daunting.
Prospect Centre is one of 33 shopping centre’s owned by New River Retail, the UK’s largest community and convenience focused property investor/shopping centre owner, supporting Autism Hour which is part of NAS’ Too Much Information campaign.
Donna Callander, shopping centre marketing manager, said: “Having recently launched our Kids Club across all 33 shopping centres, we vowed to ensure that the entire family unit from baby up to grandmother and everyone in between has a positive experience when visiting our centres.
“By taking part in Autism Hour, we are giving a little bit of support to shoppers who have autism as well as their friends and family and educating our staff and store teams at the same time.
“A few of our centres already do Quiet Hours regularly through the week and have had excellent customer feedback, not only from those who have Autism but from elderly shoppers or people who have other types of disabilities and generally need a calmer atmosphere.
“We therefore are looking at how we can apply this across all shopping centres.”
To be the first to hear about upcoming events at Prospect Centre and enjoy exclusive offers for city-centre family attractions, sign up to The Kids Club at www.prospectshoppingcentre.co.uk