Kenilworth shop hosting Santa’s grotto for children with special needs

Father Christmas inside the shop's grotto

Father Christmas inside the shop's grotto

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A Santa’s grotto specifically designed to stimulate and entertain children with special educational needs is being hosted at a shop in Kenilworth.

Aunty Agatha’s The Little BIG Sensory Shop in Talisman square is hosting the grotto on Saturdays and Sundays until Sunday December 20 and families are able to book visits for themselves and their children, no matter what their age.

The grotto itself

The grotto itself

The grotto is large enough for a whole family to fit in, is wheelchair accessible and is full of toys for children to touch if they want to.

The visits last for 20 minutes, allowing time for children to relax into the visit and get used to Father Christmas’s presence. Once they feel comfortable, they can then speak with him and tell him what they would like for Christmas.

Catherine Colby-Johnson, the shop’s owner, explained why she decided to run a Santa’s grotto for children with special educational needs.

She said: “A lot of the shop’s regulars have autistic children, and they can’t queue up for a normal grotto because the excitement can be too much for them.

“The time slots are designed to lower the anxiety of the children and their families. Father Christmas is very softly spoken, and explains to the children what will happen on Christmas Eve so they feel more comfortable on the night.

“The visits are tailored to each family - when you book you fill in a questionnaire about your children and the staff will meet their needs.

“Christmas is a magical time for everyone and no one should be left out.”

Anyone wishing to book a visit should email info@auntyagathas.co.uk or should visit the shop’s Facebook page. Visits cost £10 for one child, with the price rising by £2.50 for every subsequent child booked.