Charity’s sensory Santa grotto for autistic children

Sparkle's Santa grotto
Sparkle's Santa grotto

A welcoming Santa’s grotto is to provide some special Christmas magic for autistic children and their families in Sheffield.

The Sparkle Sheffield charity is keen to see that children who have autism are able to access a grotto, and this one will have its own team of ‘autism aware’ Santa and elves.

Sparkle’s own sensory pod will be available for young visitors to relax in. Even Santa pups will be there to add a helping paw to the proceedings, thanks to Support Dogs, and the atmosphere will be entirely autism-friendly.

A spokeswoman for Sparkle Sheffield said that the event is in very high demand.

She said: “The idyllic Christmas fantasy, that society has been brought up to expect, isn’t always the case for everyone. At Sparkle we like to see a future where no-one is excluded due to a disability, and all our children can still take part.

“We are trying to make this a reality, firstly, by running our own Santa’s Grotto with a carefully controlled environment, longer time allowances, and special consideration given to children’s sensory needs.

“Next year we hope to expand our seasonal activities to meet the demand, with more Grotto sessions, and more events.”

To make these dreams happen for children with autism, the charity needs funding. Help Sparkle Sheffield by texting ‘SSHF15 £2’ to 70070, to donate £2 and help them continue to do amazing work.

Sparkle’s Santa’s grotto opens on December 17 at 9.30am, with Sheffield’s Lord Mayor in attendance.

It will be at Sparkle’s headquarters, 4 Norfolk Park Road, Sheffield, S2 3QE.