Kettering shopping centre supporting autism initiative

Newlands Centre: Kettering: Newlands Shopping Centre, Gold St Saturday August 20 2015 NNL-150815-205143009
Newlands Centre: Kettering: Newlands Shopping Centre, Gold St Saturday August 20 2015 NNL-150815-205143009

Kettering’s Newlands Shopping Centre will become a place of peace and tranquility to support the National Autistic Society’s autism hour.

Shoppers visiting the centre in Kettering may already be familiar with the Sensory Sundays when, on the first Sunday of every month, all music is turned off, hand-dryers replaced with paper towels and stores requested to either turn their in-store music off or have it at a very low level.

Now the centre will extend the initiative for two hours each day from 9am to 11am between October 8 and October 12 as part of Autism Hour.

Neil Griffin, manager at the Newlands Shopping Centre, said: “We hold Sensory Sundays on the first Sunday of every month and we are further supporting this initiative by taking part in the Nation Autistic Society Autism Hour.

“However, being a shopping centre, we understand that it may not be possible to get everything done in one hour on one day, so we have extended the initiative to two hours – between 9am and 11am each day of the week.

“The feedback from our sensory Sundays has been amazing and we know that it has made a difference and helped many people.”

Autism Hour was launched last year as a mass event to encourage shops to be more autism friendly and more than 5,000 shops and businesses took part.

So far this year more 7,000 shops have already signed up and the campaign is being backed by celebrities including Chris Packham, Anne Hegerty and Christine McGuinness.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

More than one in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK.

Every person on the autism spectrum is different.

It can present some serious challenges – but, with the right support and understanding, autistic people and their families can live full lives.

Although everyone is different, people on the autism spectrum may be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely difficult Find social situations and change a challenge, sometimes leading to extreme levels of anxiety.

Mark Lever, chief executive at the National Autistic Society, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many well-known high street retailers have already signed up and ready to make the world more autism-friendly place.”