St John’s Shopping Centre to hold Autism Hour to help make shopping more autism friendly


·         St John’s Shopping Centre will be holding the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour on Sunday 14th October at 11am – 12pm

·         Currently, 64% of autistic people avoid going to the shops because of their autism

·         The National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour campaign is asking shops and businesses to take simple steps that will lead to a more autism friendly world


The Shopping Centre has teamed up with leading autism charity, the National Autistic Society, to hold an Autism Hour.

Autism Hour was launched last year as the first mass-participation event to encourage shops to be more autism friendly and more than 5,000 shops and businesses took part. This year the National Autistic Society are thrilled that we have over 7,000 shops already signed up. Many celebrities are backing the campaign including Chris Packham, Anne Hegerty and Christine McGuinness.

There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK, as well as three million family members and carers. Being autistic means seeing, hearing and feeling the world in a different, often more intense way to other people. Autistic people often find social situations difficult and can struggle to filter out the sounds, smells, sights and information they experience, which can make busy public places, like shops, overwhelming.

Derek Martin, Marketing manager at St John’s Shopping Centre said: “we’re delighted to have teamed up with the National Autistic Society again this year for their Autism hour campaign. As a community-based shopping centre in the heart of the city centre we are always thriving to be accessible to all and as such we’re looking to roll out quite hours throughout the year going forward”.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive at the National Autistic Society, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many well-known high street retailers have already signed up – and ready to make the world a more autism friendly place.

“Autistic people represent a huge part of our society and it is a disgrace that 64% of autistic people avoid the shops. And, shockingly, 28% of autistic people have been asked to leave a public place for reasons associated for their autism. They and their families want and deserve to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else.

“The National Autistic Society want a world which works for autistic people. With Autism Hour, we want to show retailers the small things they can do to help open up the high street for autistic people. Things like staff finding out a bit more about autism and making simple adjustments such as turning down music or dimming the lights. It’s often the smallest change that makes the biggest difference.

“Over 5,000 stores have already signed up, and you can find out more or where your nearest participating store is at”

To find our more information about attending a National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour, please visit:


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