Autism Sparkles at Castlegate Grotto

CASTLEGATE’S GROTTO is now autism friendly. Children are able to enjoy the magic of Christmas without crowds, queues, noise or flashing lights; that can be distressing.

Taking place every day, from Tuesday to Saturday, the dedicated hour is ran from 3pm to 4pm until Saturday 22nd December.

Santa visiting Daisy Chain last Christmas to donate a cheque.

The daily relaxed hour will see bookable 10-minute slots where children won’t need to queue, no distressing music, noises or flashing lights, trained staff and advance booking means parents and guardians can provide extra information to ensure their child’s visit is that extra bit magical.

Karen Eve, Centre Manager at Castlegate, said: “Throughout the year we have regularly met up with parents and guardians at Daisy Chain to understand their needs and frustrations of coming to a busy shopping centre.

“Taking on their wants and needs we have decided to launch an autism friendly Santa’s grotto and will roll out more next year including dedicated weekly hours, better toilet and changing facilities alongside fun activities for children for when they visit Castlegate” added Karen.

Pauline Wright, Daisy Chain Training Manager, said: “Many children with autism and their siblings miss out on activities that other families take for granted, like visiting Santa’s grotto, because the experience can be overwhelming and stressful.

“Offering a regular hour of bookable slots where there is no need to queue, trained staff who understand autism and advance booking that gives information on any special or particular needs will make it accessible for children and families affected by autism which is absolutely fantastic.’

Booking is essential for the Castlegate Grotto autism hour. Click here to book now.

The grotto costs £2 per child, with a free gift, and all money raised is donated to Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

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