Weston pier launches quiet hour for people with sensory conditions

Weston mum Deborah Branovits and her autistic son Matthew, aged 11.Picture: Westons Grand Pier

Weston mum Deborah Branovits and her autistic son Matthew, aged 11.Picture: Westons Grand Pier - Credit: Weston's Grand Pier

Weston’s Grand Pier will open early for a quiet hour once a month to help people with sensory conditions enjoy the seaside attraction.

The company will start its initiative next month, which has been praised by a Weston mother who said her 11-year-old autistic son would otherwise miss out on the venue's activities.

Over the hour, background music at the attraction will be switched off, public-address announcements will be silenced and, where possible, lighting will be reduced on the pier's amusement machines, rides and attractions.

This comes after the pier tried a similar initiative in December, autism hour at Santa's Grotto, which proved popular with families with children that may have found the attraction's light and sounds 'overwhelming'.

Weston mother Deborah Branovits tells of how her son Matthew enjoys visiting the pier.

She said: "My son often asks to go, but as soon as we get to the pavilion he sometimes finds the noise overwhelming.

"He clasps his hands to his ears and makes us turn back straight away. It's a sensory overload for him.

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"We took him to Santa's Grotto during the quiet hour and he really enjoyed it.

"It was so nice for us as a family to see him able to enjoy something in the run-up to Christmas which most other children do.

"I was pleased to hear the pier is opening early once a month to make it more tolerable for people like Matthew, who often miss out on fun activities because of their sensory difficulties."

The venue's manager, Tim Moyle, said: "By opening earlier it makes the environment even more welcoming for those who experience issues with large crowds or too much noise.

"The pavilion is naturally loud with all the rides, amusement machines, music and flashing lights and we recognise this may deter some people from visiting.

"Hopefully, this will encourage people to come to the pier who may otherwise have been put off in the past.

"They can make the most of all the activities on offer in a more inviting and comfortable environment."

The venue will start the quiet hour on June 2 at 9am and thereafter every Sunday morning.

For more information, visit www.grandpier.co.uk