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First ever visit to Santa for adults with learning disabilities

Santa visit for Gowrie Care service users.

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Festive cheer and Christmas magic filled Broughty Ferry’s Scout Hall yesterday when adults supported with learning disabilities met Santa for the first time.

The staff from the Dundee-based charity Gowrie Care devised the inclusive grotto after a person they support asked to go and see Santa but, because of his learning disability, the team were unable to take him to a traditional grotto.

Gowrie Care Managing Director Damian McGowan said:

“For most families, a visit to Santa’s Grotto is a festive staple, however, for some households, this Christmas treat has never been available to them. 

“Many of the people we support with learning difficulties, and those on the autistic spectrum, believe in Father Christmas, however, they are unable to join in the excitement of visiting Santa due to the large crowds, queuing, young children and loud music.

“The team at our David Street service has done an excellent job in creating a unique and magical experience which is appropriate for the people we support.”

Gowrie’s grotto experience has been carefully designed to remove any factors which made visiting Santa difficult for people with learning disabilities.

Attendees were given pre-booked slots so that they didn’t need to queue, there was a chill out space, and trained staff were on hand to provide support if required.

The event was funded in part by Dundee Integrated Care Small Grants Fund and staff at David Street worked with Advocating Together to apply for funding and ensure the design of the grotto was suitable for the needs of its visitors.

Gowrie Care provides support to more than 700 people across Angus, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow and Perthshire for a client group of people with learning disabilities and people with mental health issues, homeless people, people with addictions and people on the autism spectrum.