Vertu Newcastle Honda is working with the North East Autism Society to make its dealership and services Autism-friendly.

The site, which is on Scotswood Road, has supported the charity in multiple fundraising events this year. As a gesture of goodwill, the organisation offered to train Vertu Newcastle Honda colleagues on the steps the team can take to make visits to the dealership easier for those living with autism.

Someone living with autism may now be able to access the Motability Scheme. As the team has seen a rise in customers and families on the Austistic spectrum visiting the dealership, they were keen to take advantage of the training.

The Motability Scheme is designed to help, providing flexible and worry-free access to a brand new, reliable vehicle of choice. Anyone accessing the Scheme can lease a brand-new car, in exchange for a higher rate mobility allowance, with the insurance, servicing, maintenance and breakdown cover included.

The sessions delivered by the North East Autism Society were tailored to the dealership’s environment and started with how to understand the disability and the differences in communication. The training then covered the emotional and social well-being of customers and how to make visitors as comfortable as possible.

Chad Ridley, general manager of Vertu Honda Newcastle, said: “It’s important to know how to fulfil the needs of every single customer that visits our dealerships. The training delivered by Charlotte from the North East Autism Society was invaluable to our colleagues.

“It has taught everyone to be aware of their actions and has reminded everyone to be patient and sensitive at all times. I think that rolling the training programme out across all of our Honda dealerships is a fantastic idea, I know our team has certainly benefitted greatly from it.”

Tracey Taylforth, group Motability manager at Vertu Motors PLC added: “This was an excellent opportunity for Chad and our colleagues at Vertu Honda Newcastle. As access to the Motability Scheme widens, we are seeing the profile of our customers change; it is vital that we raise awareness of this within our retailers and understand how best to meet the needs of these customers”.

Kerrie Highcock, Family Development Manager at the North East Autism Society, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Honda to be able to create a better customer journey for autistic individuals and their families. The aim is to roll this out to all Vertu Honda garages in the north east.

“The staff at Vertu Newcastle Honda attended our training session, which was really well received. All the staff left feeling they had learnt something and has ideas of how to make small changes in the sales process and at the show room to make customer experience better.”