Business testimonials

Hear from businesses in Wigan who have already taken steps to be more accessible for people with autism, their family and friends and are seeing the benefits.

Karen Cox, Manager at Spinning Gate Shopping Centre

Karen Cox - Spinning Gate

Karen has recently introduced ‘Music Free Mondays’ to the shopping centre.

Spinning Gate Shopping Centre are proud to assist raising Autism Awareness in Wigan Borough. The shopping centre team have completed Autism Awareness training which they all enjoyed immensely. The training provided the team with confidence to support customers facing difficulties with sensory overloads whilst shopping. The centre launched Music Free Mondays during October to provide a quieter shopping environment for our shoppers and since the launch we have received some fabulous feedback from this initiative. We are looking forward to continuing our support of Autism Awareness and are exploring other opportunities to develop our support further.

John Sansen, Manager at the Grand Arcade

John Sanson - Grand Arcade

After attending an Autism Friends session, John oversaw the introduction of a virtual video of the premises to help people with autism familiarise themselves with the centre.

As part of Wigan Council's autism awareness training and staff becoming autism friends, we were introduced to Access Social who operate the I-ROAM scheme. One of the first advantages was that the company was based in the Borough and the staff were available and friendly so getting the fly through done from all entrances and car parks was easily done. They advised on certain issues such as noise from our toilet hand dryers and other areas that would be issues to those with autism. The I-ROAM was put on our website and straight away we've received comments that it's helped people who looked at it prior to a visit to familiarise themselves with the layout and shops that were available in the centre.

Nicola Freaney, Partnership Manager at the DWP

Autism Friends delivered a number of awareness sessions for DWP colleagues in Wigan, Leigh and Ashton Jobcentres.

DWP have started our journey towards the Wigan Autism Friends Award We’ve seen quite a few customers who have seen the Autism Friends certificates pinned up and felt comfortable to tell the work coach that they have Autism. We had a young girl who came to the Jobcentre with her mum. She saw the certificate and told the work coach that she felt better because she knew the work coach would understand her. Autism Friends supported us in helping our Jobcentres to become more autism friendly by doing a walkthrough of the office to help us identify environmental changes we could make. The team at Autism Friends shared a lot of useful information and suggested displaying the certificates to help raise awareness of Autism. This has helped customers to feel more comfortable to open up and talk about their own autism with their work coach, and hopefully making their time at the Jobcentre more pleasant.

Fiona Winstanley and Chloe Heyes from Groundwork

Autism Friends delivered a number of awareness sessions for Groundwork colleagues in Wigan.

The session was really insightful for the learners. The champions quickly and easily engaged all the learners by discussing their personal journey. The champions radiates a positive, approachable, and friendly demeanour, which works well to engage everyone in the room despite them having different learning styles. In addition to the champions being positive, they also encourage the learners to talk openly about Autism, without the fear of being wrong.

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