A NEW campaign is hoping to encourage people living with Autism or those who have family members with the condition to visit shops in Haverfordwest.

The campaign to make Haverfordwest an Autism friendly town is being spearheaded by two town councillors, deputy mayor Sue Murray and Chris Thomas.

They are asking businesses and public buildings in the town centre to be more accessible to people with Autism through small changes in their shops and by training staff in how to serve people with the condition.

After completing the training online shopkeepers will receive Autism awareness certificate, and a sticker to display in their front windows, meaning people living with the condition will know they can visit in the comfort their needs will be met.

A public meeting will be held on October 24 from 7pm at the Picton Centre, Freemens Way for anyone who wishes to sign up to the scheme or might have questions about it.

Both councillors have experience with the condition: Councillor Murray used to work as a support worker, and Cllr Thomas’ grandson has grown up with Autism.

“I believe this will increase footfall in the town as a lot of families shy away from taking their loved ones with Autism shopping,” said Cllr Murray.

“We just want shops and businesses to have the skills to be able to include people with Autism which will ease the worries of these families when they come shopping.”

More than 700,000 people across the UK live with Autism, and together with their families they make up 2.8 million people.

Many of these families struggle to access services near their homes because they are concerned they might not understand the needs of people with Autism.

Shopkeepers can make simple steps to help make their shops more Autism friendly including by switching off background music and dimming lights to prevent sensory overload.

For more information about the Autism awareness certificate visit asdinfowales.co.uk