Introducing Autism Friendly Shopping Hours in Collaboration with The Riley Foundation

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet East Midlands has today announced The Riley Foundation as its nominated charity partner for 2020. The Riley Foundation is a local charitable organisation offering the public, schools and other organisations access to state-of-the-art sensory equipment for children and adults with special educational needs. In support of the Nottingham-based charity, from Tuesday 25th February the centre will introduce autism- friendly shopping hours.

Until October, from 4pm-8pm on the last Tuesday of every month, the centre will strive to create a calmer, less overwhelming experience for guests. This new initiative will include switching off any music within the mall and the presence of the charity’s state-of-the-art multisensory bus which will be stationed within the car park.

The foundation has found the bus can be of great therapeutic value for people with autism and other disabilities. In addition, centre staff have been given further training to support guests who will be visiting during this time.

David Jackson, Centre Manager, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet East Midlands comments:“We are thrilled to be introducing autism friendly shopping hours in partnership with our charity of the year, The Riley Foundation. We are keen to ensure that the centre is accessible and welcoming for all guests and, as such, we will be creating a calmer environment for all shoppers by turning off our music every last Tuesday of the month. This new initiative has been put in place to ease sensory overload and ensure our guests have a more comfortable and inclusive shopping experience.

Melanie Watson, Chief Executive Officer, The Riley Foundation adds:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with McArthurGlen Designer Outlet East Midlands throughout this year, helping to make autism friendly shopping experiences accessible for even more people, while also creating the opportunity for shoppers to access our state-of-the-art facility.”

About McArthurGlen Group

McArthurGlen Group, Europe’s leading owner, developer and manager of designer outlets, was founded in Europe by the Kaempfer Partners in 1993. The pioneer of designer outlet retailing in Europe, McArthurGlen has since developed 675,000 sq m of retail space. The company currently manages 25 designer outlets in ten countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK delivering total portfolio revenues of over 4.5 billion euros a year.The centres are home to the most sought-after luxury and premium brands and offer over 90 million fashion-loving customers year-round savings in vibrant, high-quality shopping environments.

In 2013, McArthurGlen became a joint venture between the Kaempfer Partners and Simon Property Group Co. (NYSE SPG), a global leader in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations.As part of its ongoing expansion, McArthurGlen is under way or in planning with three new designer outlets: West Midlands (the UK), Paris-Giverny (France) and Remscheid (near the German cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf).About The Riley FoundationThe Riley Foundation was founded in 2019 by Mark and Melanie Wilson inspired by their own experiences and personal journey with their son Riley. Riley has severe nonverbal Autism and a number of other Special Educational Needs. Access to services and equipment like they can now offer with the Sensory Bus are extremely limited.

There are hundreds of children in mainstream education that need access to this equipment, families also find themselves isolated from social events and public places. Wanting to fill that void, The Riley Foundation created the idea of The Sensory Bus Project.The aim of the project is to deliver access to sensory equipment at a number of locations both in public and in educational settings to help meet the needs of these children and include them once again at social events.

This project is fundamental to mental wellbeing and inclusion of its service users. Working with establishments like McArthur Glen Designer Outlet East Midlands will help the charity to make small tasks that can be taken for granted like shopping accessible for families once again.