One of Northern Ireland's much loved summer attractions, Belfast Zoo, is the latest organisation to achieve Autism NI’s Impact Award, demonstrating their commitment to inclusion for autistic and neurodivergent customers and employees.

Autism NI’s Impact Award provides organisations with training and follow up support to create and implement a tailored action plan of support, creating meaningful change for autistic people who use the service.

Autism NI’s Director of Development, Christine Kearney said “We are delighted that Belfast Zoo has achieved the Impact Award for their commitment to accessibility for autistic and neurodivergent people. Throughout staff training and implementation of their accessibility action plan, Belfast Zoo has demonstrated great dedication to creating an inclusive environment for all customers and employees. It is fantastic to be able to support such a significant tourist attraction within Northern Ireland, as they work with us to play their part in building an inclusive society.”

Belfast Zoo’s Commercial Support Officer, Julie Bryans said “It’s been a pleasure to work with such a great team to achieve this award. All the staff have been so invested in wanting to make a difference and to translate the training and guidance into practice.

We offer a range of different supports for autistic and neurodivergent customers, including the introduction of sensory packs, the availability of ear defenders, sensory signage and maps, alternative spaces for quiet dining and quiet hours. Without these types of adjustments, autistic people and their families and carers can become isolated or prevented from going out and about and being part of their communities.”

Autism NI will continue to work in partnership with Belfast Zoo to provide continued expert support to maintain their inclusive approach.

Autism NI work alongside autistic people and their families, and build partnerships that champion better understanding, accessibility, and services for our autism community.

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