The first ever Autism friendly Santa’s Grotto and Christmas Market on Saturday 9th December was a collaboration between three groups and charities – Anna Kennedy Online, Hillingdon DADS and Mencap Hillingdon South which was a huge success. The Deputy Mayor of Hillingdon Cllr Morgan and his wife were in attendance and have already shared they want to return next year and give full support in 2018.

With so much positive feedback from Parent/Carers and all went on their merry way with a smile on their faces. The concept was received positively and some children not normally able to see Santa managed to meet him were so happy that they finally managed to spend some time at the grotto along with their siblings.

Many who thought their children wouldn’t stay too long actually managed to stay much longer and were happy to see their children enjoy the festivities within the Christmas Market too. Parent/Carers got to relax knowing that no one would judge them or their families and talk to other Parent/Carers. This formed new relationships of support amongst the families.

Kevin Buglar founder from Hillingdon DADS said “We are already looking forward to having an even better event next year with all the same and new Parent/Carers and their wonderful Children. We will start planning for it after April 2018 to see that it is managed and staged in the same festive, giving and supportive manner. Our plans until then is to continue the growth of Hillingdon DADS giving support from DADS4DADS caring for Children with Disabilities and their families in the UK”

Anna Kennedy said ‘ It was a lovely day at the autism friendly Santa’s Grotto. It was lovely to see lots of happy families spending time together. Looking forward to next year’

To all the Parent/Carers in the UK – Have yourselves a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Hillingdon DADS, Anna Kennedy Online and Mencap!