We are marking World Autism Awareness Week on Thursday 30 March from 10am – 2pm as it celebrates becoming autism friendly. In order to do this intu Lakeside has partnered with Treetops School in Grays and Thurrock’s National Autistic Society (NAS Thurrock). During the campaign launch event, intu Lakeside will also be announcing their charity partner of the year.
We believe that every customer should have the opportunity to have an enjoyable experience at the centre whether this be shopping, socialising with friends, or watching the latest release at the cinema. However, for every 100 people in the UK one person has autism, which can make this experience a daunting and sometimes stressful occasion. In a bid to change this, intu Lakeside has worked with Treetops School and NAS Thurrock to ensure that the centre is welcoming and accessible for all to give them a memorable experience.
We have created a visual guide for customers with autism, as well as a detailed guide for their parents or carers, to help with every stage of their visit to the centre. The autism packs also include a Hello card and wristband. In addition to this, all intu Lakeside staff members are currently undergoing training to support customers affected by autism and to raise awareness of the condition.
During the event on Thursday 30 March, shoppers will not only be able to find out more about the new campaign and get a copy of the autism guide, but will have the opportunity to raise funds for intu Lakeside’s charity partner. Tea, coffee and cake will be available in the Central Atrium, NAS Thurrock will be providing a virtual reality experience and Treetops School will be showcasing some of the products students have been making along with other activities available for customers to enjoy.
Hana Gunfield, Community Manager at intu Lakeside, commented: “Here at intu Lakeside we are extremely passionate about creating positive experiences for all of our guests. With the help of Treetops School and NAS Thurrock, we will be introducing a campaign that is set to change the lives of our guests who are affected by autism and other learning difficulties. In the UK 2.8, million families are affected by autism which is why it’s so important that we make this change within the centre. I am really excited to announce our charity partner and think the launch will be a great experience for all of our customers especially with the opportunity to wear the virtual reality goggles so that they can get an understanding on what it’s truly like living with autism.”