Gary Grant, the founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer, is calling on retailers and shopping centres to do more to support shoppres with autism in the UK.
The toy chain has once again teamed up with the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour campaign, which encourages retailers to, for short periods, create autism-friendly environments in-store. This year’s campaign will take place from 5 -12 October.
The dedicated daily hours are designed to show businesses the simple steps that can be taken towards improving shopping experiences for those who struggle to filter out sounds, smells, sights and information, often making public places overwhelming. In 2018, more than 11,000 businesses made adjustments for autistic people during the campaign, totalling 30,000 Autism Hours.
“Joining the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is the absolute minimum retailers should be doing to support autistic people across the country,” says Gary. “Simple yet effective changes can make a huge impact in creating a safe and welcoming environment for autistic people, such as turning off music and reducing bright lighting wherever possible. It’s important that retailers support autistic people and their families and we’re proud to operate our own weekly Quiet Hour.”
The Entertainer launched with Autism Hour in 2017, becoming an official partner in 2018, and now runs its own weekly Quiet Hour in all stores during their first hour of opening every Saturday, and the first hour of opening every day in the school holidays.
In addition to Quiet Hour, five of The Entertainer stores have been awarded an Autism Friendly Award from the National Autistic Society.
Tom Purser, Head of Campaigns at the National Autistic Society, said: “The Entertainer are a fantastic example of a retail store which has taken great strides in becoming autism friendly.
“Autistic people represent a huge part of our society – around 1 in 100 people in the UK… But many find the crowds, noise and unpredictability of our high streets completely overwhelming and end up avoiding them altogether. We are so pleased that The Entertainer are committed to creating a society which works for autistic people and are proud to have them sponsoring Autism Hour 2019.”