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Autism-friendly mall praised in House of Commons motion

Kirsten Oswald MP

MPs have signed an Early Day Motion in the Westminster Parliament praising intu Braehead for making its malls more autism-friendly.

Kirsten Oswald MP

Kirsten Oswald MP

East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald put down the motion after staff at intu Braehead were given specialist training by the Scottish Autism charity.

The centre also successfully introduced a pilot Quiet Hour in the malls to reduce potential stress for shoppers with the condition.

 Lydia Brown, intu Braehead community development manager

Lydia Brown, intu Braehead community development manager

Retailers were asked to turn off music and any flashing lights to create a quieter and calmer atmosphere in the centre, making the environment less overwhelming for people with autism.

The Early Day Motion has been signed and supported by 15 other Scottish MPs, including Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP, Gavin Newlands, whose constituency covers the intu Braehead shopping and leisure destination.
The full text of the motion reads:
“That this House welcomes an initiative launched by intu Braehead to make the shopping centre more autism-friendly.
“Notes that staff at intu Braehead have been given specialist training by Scottish Autism to better understand the challenges facing people with autism and what can be done to support them and their families.
“Applauds the introduction of a trial quiet hour in the shopping centre to raise awareness of autism and ensure autistic visitors feel safer and more welcome.
“Understands that across the UK over 700,000 people are believed to be on the autistic spectrum and looks forward to more retailers and shopping centres across the country becoming more accessible for people with autism.”
Community development manager for intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “We appreciate and thank the MPs for recognising our initiative and the efforts of our staff to make intu Braehead a place where everyone feels welcome, relaxed and comfortable.
“It will feel quite normal for most of our visitors to come to a busy shopping centre, but for people with autism that may not necessarily be the case.
“We aim to make intu Braehead as autism-friendly as we can.”