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Open doors for Autism Hour at Barton’s Yard

Becky Langley (Operations Manager), Paul Kirkpatrick (Head Bartender), Claire Hughes (Business Development Manager) at Barton’s Yard café bar at The Halston.

For autistic people, the world can seem full of too much information – and too little understanding. Which is why the National Autistic Society launched the Too Much Information campaign to challenge the myths, misconceptions and stereotypes that contribute to 79% of autistic people feeling socially isolated and 64% of autistic people avoiding going to the shops.

More than 1 in 100 of the population have been diagnosed with autism. Along with their families, that’s over 3 million customers waiting to be welcomed into shops, restaurants and business. Over 99% of people have heard of autism, but only 16% of autistic people feel the public understand them.

As part of the Too Much Information campaign, the National Autistic Society is asking shops and businesses to organise an Autism Hour and take simple steps for 60 minutes to lead to a more autism-friendly world.

As the only hospitality business in Carlisle taking part in this initiative, Claire Hughes Business Development Manager at The Halston Aparthotel is keen to show support saying; “The idea of Autism Hour appealed because it is something practical that we can do to make our space more welcoming. From a personal perspective, my nephew is on the spectrum and I appreciate some of the challenges he faces entering certain spaces.”

These simple steps include turning down music and other noise: overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing spaces. Claire says, “Barton’s Yard is a calm space already and for the hour we’ll be using softer mood lighting, switching off music, hand dryers and our coffee grinder, there will be a separate ‘chill-space’ and a picture menu option. Alongside that we’ll be running a session with our staff to provide information about autism to develop better understanding of what it means and how we can provide positive customer experiences. We would like to thank Carlisle Mencap who have been particularly helpful, providing information and resources.”

Barton’s Yard at The Halston on Warwick Road will be holding the Autism Hour at 1pm every day from the Sunday 7 October to Friday 12 October.

More information can be found here  or call 01228 210240.

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