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The sensory bag has arrived!

To celebrate Autism Awareness Week, today we've launched our first ever sensory backpack in partnership with North East Autism Society.

Designed by parents and supported by the North East Autism Society, the sensory bag is packed full of items to assist autistic children to enjoy their shopping experience. Items include, egg timers, sunglasses, a variety of visual symbols, fidget toys and autism guides designed by the centre.

How to hire a sensory bag?

To hire the bag for your visit, you are asked to leave a £20 refundable deposit which will be given back following the safe return of the bag.

The sensory backpack is available to hire from our customer service desks near and Fenwick and Debenhams.

intu also introduced a Quiet Hour initiative in 2017 offering families a more relaxed environment with low sounding music, dimmed lights, and useful shopping guides. Quiet Hour runs at intu Eldon Square on the first Tuesday of every month from 10am – 11am and first Saturday from 9am - 10am.

Sensory bag conditions of use:

  • The child MUST be a minimum of 5 years old.
  • The child/children/adult MUST only be supervised by a responsible adult (aged 18+).
  • The child/children must not be left unattended with the items at any time.
  • The Sensory bag must be handed back to the customer service desk of hire within 5 hours.
  • Please report signs of wear or damage to our customer service team.
  • The ear defenders and sunglasses have an age limit of 15 years old.

Please note: The sensory bag must only be used in the confines of the intu shopping centre from where it has been hired and is not to be taken outside the shopping centre.


How much does it cost to hire a sensory bag?

You can hire the sensory bags from the St Andrew’s Way and Fenwick customer service desks at intu Eldon Square, a £20 refundable deposit is taken which you will receive upon returning the bag.

How long can I hire the sensory bag for?

The Sensory bag must be handed back to the customer service desk within 5 hours. If you need to extend the hire time, please speak to the customer service team whom would be happy to assist.

Can I purchase the backpack?

Unfortunately, the backpack will not be for sale, however we do hope to be able to sell some of the items within the bags in the future.

Are the products cleaned after each use?

All products within the backpacks are thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant wipes after each use. We also provide disposable covers for the ear defenders.  Please speak with a member of the customer service team if you are concerned about any allergies.

Can I phone and reserve a sensory bag to hire later in the day?

As the centre currently only have a small supply of sensory backpacks we are unable to offer this service at present, however we will be reviewing this.

Why is there a minimum age limit?

The minimum age of 5 years old has been set by the manufacturer guidelines.

Will you look to develop an adult sensory bag?

We are currently working with the North East Autism Society to develop an adult sensory bag.