Award's in the bag for Scotland's Howgate Shopping Centre
Posted by Ellandi on 28th Nov 2018
Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk has become the very first shopping centre in
Scotland to be certified as autism-friendly after achieving the National
Autistic Society Scotland’s Autism Friendly Award.
achieve the award, staff learned about autism and made adjustments to the way
they work to ensure autistic visitors can access and enjoy the shops and
services it offers. This included meeting with customers to find out what they
found challenging and developing new partnerships to help understand what
services could be improved.
centre has also introduced regular sensory shopping days, and created autism-friendly
visitor guides to help autistic customers prepare in advance for their visit.
Autism Friendly Award, administered by the National Autistic Society Scotland,
recognises organisations that ensure autistic visitors and their families can
access and enjoy their venues.
Ward, National Director at the National Autistic Society Scotland said: “We are
delighted to see the adjustments that The Howgate Shopping Centre has made for
their autistic customers. Around 58,000 people are autistic in Scotland. This
means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a
more intense way, which can make shopping a source of great anxiety.
seeking external expertise, training staff and acting on the feedback of their
autistic customers, The Howgate Centre has made a fantastic effort to be an
inclusive environment. In particular, identifying quiet areas, running regular
sensory shopping days and offering visual guides and resources to help support
visitors, the Centre has shown a real commitment to making a big difference to
the lives of autistic people in Falkirk.
hope that many more shopping centres in Scotland will follow their excellent
example, then we will be a little bit closer to creating a world that supports
and works for autistic people, their families and carers.”
Margaret Foy, Marketing Manager at The Howgate Shopping Centre
said: “We are so pleased to be the very first shopping centre in Scotland to receive
the National Autistic Society Scotland’s Autism Friendly Award.
“We’ve worked hard over the past two years and listened to feedback
from our autistic customers so we could create a more accessible shopping
experience. We’ve introduced a regular sensory shopping day on the first Sunday
of each month, private Santa visits, and all of our staff have received autism
awareness training. The response to these small changes has been overwhelmingly
positive. It’s been great to see our autistic customers and their families
enjoying their shopping experience.”
National Autistic Society Scotland is keen to support more organisations in
Scotland to become autism-friendly.
find out more about the award, please visit www.autism.org.uk/autismfriendlyaward.