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Autism Friendly

Axis Group companies have behind The Mercury Shopping Centre gaining Autism Friendly accreditation, as awarded by the National Autistic Society (NAS). The work is to make shopping more accessible for people with autism spectrum conditions.

Axis Cleaning and Support Services, Axis Security, the east London shopping centre owner Ellandi and shopping centre manager Workman over the past two years have worked on improving the shopping experience for autistic customers.

Axis Group has been providing security, cleaning, support services and customer service training for the Romford shopping centre since last year. Brad Halfacre, Deputy Contracts Manager for Axis Group at The Mercury, completed a training course with Workman to become an ‘Autism Champion’, and went on to train other staff on site about how to manage a customer with autism in situations of distress, along with ways to communicate and improve their shopping experience.

He says: “It’s great to be part of an organisation that focuses on spectrum and sensory conditions such as autism. The Centre has made a real commitment to making a difference to the lives of people with autism in the local area. We will continue to improve in any way we can to provide the best possible experience and all-inclusive environment for customers and visitors.”

Every Tuesday is a ‘sensory day’ at The Mercury, where the lights are turned down, the music is switched off or lowered and the hand driers are replaced with paper towels to create more calm and peace. The mall has published sensory visual guides and information for autistic visitors on its website. Staff have been trained to direct customers to calmer, quieter areas of the shopping centre that have been identified should they require somewhere with fewer sensory triggers.

Daniel Cadey, Autism Friendly Development Manager at the NAS, says: “We are delighted to see the adjustments that The Mercury has made for their autistic customers. We hope that many more shopping centres will follow their excellent example, then we will be a little bit closer to creating a world that supports and works for people with autism, their families and carers.”

Photo courtesy of The Mercury.


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