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Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer, is calling on retailers and shopping centres to do more for autistic people in the UK.

With over 700,000 autistic people living in the UK, The Entertainer recognises the huge importance of welcoming autistic people into its stores. The retailer has once again teamed up with The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour campaign. Throughout the initiative, The National Autistic Society calls on retailers to participate in creating autism friendly environments across the UK. 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, over 11,000 businesses made adjustments for autistic people during the campaign, consisting of a total of 30,000 Autism Hours.

Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer said: “Joining the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour is the absolute minimum retailers should be doing to support autistic people across the country.  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 and in 2018 became the official partner, thanks to overwhelmingly positive feedback.  As such, The Entertainer has implemented its own weekly Quiet Hour which has been received exceptionally well.  All stores now run a Quiet Hour 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. These stores are Westfield London, Amersham, Solihull, Worcester and Cwmbran. The Entertainer is committed to working towards an Autism Friendly Award for all 170 stores in 2020.

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.

“The toy store began by joining in with our campaign, Autism Hour and have since achieved the Autism Friendly Award in five stores across the UK, and they are looking to roll this out to all their stores next year. Autistic people represent a huge part of our society – around 1 in 100 people in the UK. They and their families want to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else. 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. For more information about autism, visit autism.org.uk.

Find out more about the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour and how to get involved by visiting: www.autism.org.uk/AutismHour. For further information on The Entertainer’s commitment towards Quiet Hour and Autism Hour, please visit www.thetoyshop.com