Vue Cinema and Mangobean at food and entertainment complex, Feethams, are the latest businesses to pledge their commitment to help Darlington become a more autism-friendly town by signing up to the nationwide initiative, ‘Quiet Hour Sundays’.
 
The second Quiet Hour in Darlington will take place on Sunday 4 March between 10.30am and 11.30am. It will see the latest campaign recruits turning off music and any children’s rides to create a calmer shopping experience for visitors with autism and dementia, as well as elderly members of the public.
 
Ahmad Majidiasl, marketing manager at Feethams, said the seemingly small changes within the environment would go a long way in making the busy public space more inviting for people affected by sensory impairments.
 
He said: “We’re really pleased that Vue Cinema and Mangobean are backing the initiative and helping raise awareness that going out and about – something that is second nature to many - can be a daunting task for people who experience the world differently.
 
“The combination of loud music, bright lights and large crowds can be disorienting for some of our customers. Quiet Hour is a wonderful way for us to accommodate the needs of as many members of the community as we can and encourage them to come and have a fun day out with us.”
 
Ahmad continued: “We are committed to creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere where all visitors feel welcome and at ease when spending time at Feethams.”
 
 
 
Charlene Adey-Reed, general manager at Vue Darlington, expressed that she was proud to be part of an initiative that is taking positive steps to ensure that the many people with ‘silent’ disabilities don’t  have to miss out on watching a film, or grabbing a bite to eat when simple measures can be adopted by venues to make outings pleasant for all visitors.
 
She said: “Quiet Hour is a fantastic opportunity for businesses and services to show solidarity towards people who have additional needs when it comes to things like enjoying some leisure time.
 
“The big screen experience is an exciting treat and so that even more families can spend quality time together enjoying movies, we host autism-friendly screenings at 10am on the last Sunday of every month where the lights are left dimmed, the sound is turned down and no adverts or trailers are played.”
 
Zak Ahmed, development agent at popular coffeehouse, Mangobean, said that Quiet Hour was a wonderful way of increasing inclusivity in the town. He said: “As soon as we became aware of the campaign, we knew we wanted to be involved.
 
“Feethams is the hub of the community and as a people-focused business, we have a brilliant platform to help bring a variety of issues to light. We’re looking forward to taking part each month and welcoming new customers who may have previously shied away from visiting.”
 
Marion Ogle, Town Centre Partnership and Events Manager, Cultural Services for Darlington Council, was thrilled that more businesses in the town were joining the campaign. She said: “We are delighted to welcome on board Vue and Mangobean.
 
“Quiet Hour is going from strength to strength and is proving to be very popular with families and businesses. By making our town centre more inclusive, we can ensure that greater numbers of people are able to come along and enjoy the great shops and facilities that Darlington has to offer.”
 
Vue Cinema and Mangobean at Feethams will be taking part in the next Quiet Hour on Sunday 4 March between 10.30am and 11.30am, where music and any children’s rides will be turned off. For further information on news, events and more at Feethams, please visit www.feethamsdarlington.co.uk.

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