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Families affected by autism can enjoy a special shopping experience tailored for them at a new Toys “R” Us in the North East.

On Sunday, 8 October, the latest store to arrive at the Bridges, Sunderland, will be hosting a one-hour autism-friendly session, as part of the National Autistic Society’s Autism Hour initiative.

From 10am to 11am, the store will turn down the noise and dim the lights to offer a quiet place for young people affected by autism to shop in a more relaxing environment, without the hustle and bustle of normal shopping hours.

Music and tannoy announcements will be switched off during the event and autism-friendly signage will be used, to offer a more accessible and calming shopping experience.

Samantha Czwordon-Wright, marketing manager at the Bridges is delighted with the autism-friendly initiative.

“The newly-opened Toys “R” Us has been a great coup for the Bridges,” she said.

“And the store’s autism-friendly hour is a brilliant opportunity for those of our shoppers, who are affected by autism and additional needs, to browse the toys in a slow-paced, peaceful environment.”

“The store has already hit the ground running since opening on Monday 2 October and we are confident that it will attract both new and returning shoppers on the countdown to Christmas, which will, in turn, be a boost for other businesses.”

The Toys “R” us store will open one hour prior to official store opening times. However, due to England’s Sunday Trading legislation, this means that no sales or returns can be completed until the official store opening time at 11am.

Families whose children may struggle with the patience of waiting, will be offered the opportunity to return later that morning to pay for their shopping.

For more information about the Bridges, visit the website www.thebridges-shopping.com.

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