Friars Square shopping centre ran a special free autism-friendly evening at its grotto last week, called caring santa.
More than 20 local children and young adults with learning disabilities attended the special after-hours session at Friars Square.
The event, called Caring Santa, was organised by local mum Tracey Dennis so children and young people with learning difficulties could meet Santa in a quiet environment. This is the
third year that Tracey has run the event with Friars Square.
The grotto opened after closing time for the group, as queues can distress some children with autism. Each child had a scheduled appointment with Santa.
Ian Hines from Dead Universe Comics in Friars Square kindly donated some graphic novels and comics to the event.
Andy Margieson, centre manager at Friars Square, said: “Tracey does a fantastic job organising the Caring Santa event and we were only too happy to host it at our grotto.
“It’s really important that children with learning disabilities can enjoy the magic of meeting Santa without feeling distressed.”
Tracey Dennis said: “It’s really rewarding to be able to help local parents that are struggling especially at this time of year.”
“A big thank you to Friars Square shopping centre for hosting us again this year for free - we couldn’t do it without you. And thanks to Ian at Dead Universe Comics who have kindly given
us some fantastic gifts to use every year.”
“I’d also like to let everyone know that the National Autistic Society in Aylesbury run a Saturday youth club called Ace so please get in touch with them if you want to go.”
Santa’s grotto is open at Friars Square shopping centre every day till Christmas Eve.
Entry costs £3 for one child or £5 for two and includes a gift. For details of timings check www.friarssquareshopping.com or Facebook @FriarsSquareShoppingCentre.