TT logo with StraplineTo mark World Autism Awareness Day, intu Trafford Centre is partnering with Cheadle-based special needs charity, the Together Trust, to launch a pioneering scheme aimed at supporting individuals with autism at Manchester’s intu Trafford Centre.

Individuals with autism, their families and the organisations that work with them are all invited to be a part of the launch of this new initiative on World Autism Awareness Day, Thursday 2nd April. The Together Trust’s expert team will be on hand at intu Trafford Centre between 10am – 10pm to showcase the new resources, answer questions about autism and offer support to people affected by the condition.

intu Trafford Centre will also be holding their first autism-friendly hour, where they will create a quiet and non-judgemental shopping environment between 10am – 11am.

Following a longstanding partnership with intu Trafford Centre, the charity has created two autism-friendly guides to the Centre and specially designed alert card for visitors. The staff are also receiving autism awareness training, which has been designed and delivered by specialists from the Together Trust.

The guides are designed to cater for individuals of all ages and abilities. They will support visitors through all stages of their visit, starting before arriving at the Centre, through to what they will see, what they can do and what to do in an emergency.

Specially designed alert cards have also been developed for individuals with autism and for their parents and carers, which visitors can use at their discretion to communicate with intu staff or the public to quickly explain that they have autism.

Richard Paxton, General Manager at intu Trafford Centre, said: “We’re committed to providing a premium shopping experience for all our customers and this latest service partnering with specialists from the Together Trust ensures we can do just that.

“Following a successful pilot with the Together Trust, we plan to roll out autism awareness training to all intu Trafford Centre staff to better support those with autism spectrum conditions during their visit and this event on World Autism Awareness Day will be the perfect opportunity to launch our new tools, while bringing together our employees with customers and their families.”

Suzie Franklin, Family Liaison and Support Worker at the Together Trust, said: “Our partnership with intu Trafford Centre is leading the way in making the North West’s most popular retail spaces as accommodating as possible to the needs of people with autism spectrum conditions.

“The families and young people we support who are affected by autism have told us how much these kinds of initiatives are needed and we hope that other big businesses nationwide will consider how they too can support families of people with autism.”

The guide and alert card will be available for download from the intu Trafford Centre website intu.co.uk/traffordcentre from 30 March 2015 or can be collected from the Customer Services Desk located in the Main Dome.

A Twitter chat will be hosted on the intu Trafford Centre twitter account, @traffordcentre, from 6pm – 7pm on 2nd April where people can ask the Together Trust team any questions they have about autism.