Foyleside Shopping Centre is delighted to announce that, owing to the hard work and effort of its dedicated staff, they are now the proud recipients of an Autism Impact Award from Autism NI. The prestigious Award is presented to organisations who go above and beyond to create an ‘Autism friendly environment’. This allows for the 30,000 individuals and families in Northern Ireland who are daily affected by autism to enjoy the same privileges as everyone else in the community.
Foyleside has six Champions dedicated to ensuring autism accessibility within the Centre, making it the largest Shopping Complex with a specially trained staff in Northern Ireland. These AQA accredited Autism Champions are Adrian O’Brien, Micheál Morrow, Angela O’Donnell, Amy O’Donnell, Alison Canning and Tina McAleer.
Foyleside Shopping Centre is only the second Shopping Complex in Northern Ireland, and the first Shopping Complex outside of Belfast, to receive the Award.
Wednesday evenings are also now being designated as “Quiet Evenings” in an effort to make retailers and shoppers alike more conscious of the challenges faced by Northern Ireland’s autistic community. The main mall and shop units will turn off any in-store music to help make the shopping experience more enjoyable for customers affected by autism.
Foyleside has also constructed a brand-new sensory room as part its initiative to make the Centre more universally accessible. The room is fitted with multiple features designed to calm, including fibre optics, bubble tubes and other devices aimed at destressing. Sound and light levels are adjustable and can be changed to cater to a specific child or adult’s needs.
Fergal Rafferty, Centre Manager at Foyleside Shopping Centre said, “We are extremely proud that Foyleside is now accessible to the many individuals and families in Northern Ireland who are daily affected by autism. We want all shoppers to feel welcome, comfortable, safe, and above all, to have an enjoyable experience at Foyleside. We hope that we can encourage other businesses in Northern Ireland to follow suit and that, with our example, we have taken steps towards tolerance and inclusivity across society as a whole.”