Hertfordshire garden centre to host Christmas grotto experience for children with autism


Children with autism can experience the magic of Christmas at a specially-designed quiet Santa’s Grotto event this week.

Dobbies garden centres are hosting the magical Grottos in 50 stores across the country, including one in Royston, Hertfordshire.

The Grotto is specially adapted in partnership with Autism Together, to allow children and their families to experience the delight of meeting Santa in an environment where the sound and visual elements have been designed to help minimise anxiety.

Read more: Get the latest Christmas news

Visitors will stroll through the magical winter wonderland walkway before being greeted by Santa’s elves. Youngsters will meet Santa and receive a gift from a selection of toys depending on their age.

Sarah Murray, Partnership and Events Manager at Dobbies said: “Meeting Santa is a wonderful experience for all children and we wanted to be as inclusive as possible. Here at Dobbies, we love to see the excitement before and after attending Santa’s Grotto, which is guaranteed to spread Christmas Joy throughout the rest of our Royston store.”

Michelle Walklett, Head of Autism Together’s Autism Training and Advisory Service, said: “As a specialist UK charity supporting autistic people, we’re pleased to be working with Dobbies in Royston to help enhance their Christmas Grotto experience for visitors with autism and other sensory needs.

“Through this partnership, we’ll also be delivering autism awareness training for Santa and all his elves and helpers in time for the festive season.”

Tickets are £11.99, including the toy. The event will take place on Friday, December 10.

Booking in advance is essential and can be made here.

What do you think about the event? Sign up here and let us know in the comments below.


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