‘Sensory skating’ at Bayfair

A faux ice-skating rink will be open to kids at Bayfair this week, including a special session for those with autism on Thursday morning. Supplied photo.

In light of Autism Awareness Month, Bayfair Shopping Centre is making sure everyone is catered for these holidays.

This week Bayfair Shopping Centre is hosting a faux ice-skating rink, with a special early morning session on Thursday dedicated to those with sensory processing disorders.

The sensory skating session will be held in a more controlled environment, eliminating busy crowds, lights, sounds, and anything that may trigger a child with a sensory processing disorder such as autism.

Bayfair marketing manager Kylie McGregor says the centre strives to be inclusive in all they do.

“It's extremely important to us that everyone is catered for at the centre. We are a role model for inclusivity in the Tauranga community.

“Hosting a morning especially for those who require a little less noise and fuss was an easy choice for us – we never want to leave anybody out.”

Bayfair was awarded a platinum rating for their commitment to accessibility by social change organisation Be.Accessible in 2015.

Centre manager Steve Ellingford is also a member of Be.Accessible's Fab50, a list comprised of New Zealand's most passionate, accessibility-focused business people.

CEO of Be.Accessible Minnie Baragwanath says Bayfair is trail-blazing the way for social change in New Zealand.

“These sensory initiatives are so valuable. Not only do they serve the immediate community, but they also encourage other New Zealand businesses to follow suit.

“Bayfair's commitment to accessibility is something we hope centres all over the country will learn from. Striving for inclusivity for all should be at the top of every shopping centre's agenda.”

According to Autism New Zealand, 1 in 66 people in the country have an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

About 65,000 kiwis are on the spectrum, ranging from those who need full time support, to those who simply require a sympathetic understanding of their differences and alternative behaviour patterns.

Sensory ice skating is available on Thursday April 20 from 8-9am. Skates are supplied on site and booking are available via the Bayfair Shopping Centres Customer Service Desk.

The synthetic ice skating rink is open to all children aged 5-12 years from Tuesday April 18 until Saturday April 22, from 10am-3pm.



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