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Festive cheer and Christmas magic filled Hillcrest Futures’ activities hub in the Hilltown earlier this week when adults supported with learning disabilities and autism visited Santa’s grotto.
The inclusive grotto was devised by the Dundee-based charity to allow individuals with additional support needs the opportunity to enjoy the festivities of Christmas in a calm and welcoming environment.
Hillcrest Futures managing director Joy Dunlop explained: “Most families take it for granted that a visit to Santa’s grotto is something everyone can do, however for some of the individuals we support who believe in Father Christmas this isn’t possible.
“Most grottos are busy, loud and unpredictable which can be extremely overwhelming and stressful. We believe that everyone who would like to have this opportunity should be able to enjoy the excitement of this experience in a setting that suits them.
“The team involved in organising the grotto did a terrific job in creating a unique and festive experience which was catered to the needs’ of the people we support.”
The inclusive grotto gave individuals the chance to pre-book a free 30 minute slot with Santa which eliminated the need for queueing and helped reduce noise levels. Attendees received a gift and a selection box and also had the chance to enjoy a hot chocolate and Christmas cookie in the nearby chill out zone.
Hillcrest Futures supports communities and people to live happy and fulfilling lives through providing services in the areas of physical and learning disabilities, autism, and older people. Further services include supporting positive mental health and wellbeing, homelessness and drug and alcohol recovery.