A leading North East shopping centre is taking steps to make itself more inclusive for its visitors with sensory issues, with a new dedicated calm space.

The Bridges, working in partnership with Springboard Sunderland Trust, has transformed the former Garage Shoes unit in the centre into a Quiet Room, which opens today (19 August).

Aiming to create a calming respite for shoppers with autism, learning disabilities and other sensory conditions, the room will provide a space for people to take a break from the busy environment.

Centre director Andy Bradley – who came up with the idea for the space – believes it has great appeal.

“The Bridges is a busy shopping centre and we recognise that some of our shoppers might benefit from having a dedicated calm space that they can use if they feel overwhelmed,” said Andy.

“With this in mind, we have created the Quiet Room to give these visitors a break and somewhere they can take some time out to relax.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the centre experience and I hope this room will give shoppers some peace of mind when planning their next visit and create the opportunity for even more people to enjoy what we have on offer at the Bridges.”

David Barker, chief executive of Springboard said: “As a local community development and training charity, Springboard has a long history of forging positive partnerships benefiting the residents of the city and we look forward to supporting this innovative venture in the heart of Sunderland”

The room is free to use and will be open during normal centre opening hours.

For more information on the Bridges, visit www.thebridges-shopping.com.

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