At the Chamber’s recent monthly Breakfast meeting Amelia Warr presented on: ‘HELP US TO MAKE OUR TOWN AUTISM FRIENDLY!’
Here is her presentation:
Westfield Arts and Weymouth Town Centre Manager and W&PBC would like to work alongside the town’s business community and local schools on a new scheme which The National Autistic Society have developed to gain an Autism Friendly Award for the town. This will involve transforming Weymouth into an inclusive, family-friendly location for all.
The town centre currently attracts around 2.1million day visitors and half million holiday visitors each year, making it a top UK destination for work, leisure and shopping. Just over one per cent of the UK’s population are affected by autism so making the town more inclusive is a key priority. The focus is on high footfall locations like shopping centres, transport hubs, museums and cinemas.
The plan is split into four objectives:
Staff Training – Promoting Understanding
We are geared towards raising awareness of autism and the challenges it presents to individuals in busy areas. Westfield Arts College and The Weymouth Town Centre Manager are leading on this project to ‘deepen understanding of how autism can impact on a visit to our town centre and the benefits of improving accessibility’. “These proposals have a basic aim: simple changes that can allow autistic people and their families or carers to have the most enjoyable day they can in Weymouth.
The timeline for this project will aim to match up with National Autism Awareness Week which is held in the first week of April 2019
What can businesses to do:
We are looking to engage with as many businesses as possible. There are specific guidelines and a toolkit from the NAS (National Autistic Society) to help promote the wider offer of Weymouth. Once we have businesses on board we will work together to meet some of NAS standards in order to gain the award. With support and training we believe all the standards are achievable.
What can schools and colleges to do
We are looking to engage with as many schools and groups of students with autism as possible. We would like to create groups to visit businesses to see if they would like to join our campaign and gain the award.
We will also need to make visits to public places e.g. cafes, shops, supermarkets, hairdressers etc. to see how autism friendly they are and use the toolkit to help improve if needed.
We will also be involving schools to help create a logo. Once we have selected the winning logo design we will use this on our literature, (leaflets, posters, T-shirts and badges). We will design a website and make a short film to help raise awareness based around Weymouth.
Many cities, airports, supermarkets, banks have already achieved autism friendly standards; please help us to make this happen for Weymouth too.
We would welcome the opportunity to come and discuss this further with businesses and to see how you and your organisation can be involved.
Please contact: Amelia Warr
01305 833518 (ask for sixth form)
Westfield Arts College