If you happen to be in Eastbourne this Christmas, you’ll probably spot their Christmas Market. In its second year and running throughout December, there are community stalls alongside festive food, drink and craft offerings and live entertainment happening every day.
Potentially, this could be quite a daunting place for an autistic person. With a myriad of sensory sounds, lights and activity this may be overwhelming for autistic and epileptic children and adults. Luckily, St Johns School and College have considered this and have brought with them a safe and calming space, after commissioning the custom-designed Mega Voyager.
Designed to withstand light rain in an outdoor and potentially multi-user environment, the Mega Voyager is a natural development of the Safespace Voyager, a temporary or holiday option for people with complex needs to remain safe and manage their sleep in a familiar, comfortable yet resilient environment.
The Mega Voyager (Outdoor) has been specially designed to be used at events such as these. The design features allow for use outdoors to accomodate people who may need a low sensory environment amidst all the noise, traffic and activity at these busy outdoor events. The Christmas Market at Eastbourne is one of its first outings and it has enjoyed immediate success at the St Johns School and College stall.
St Johns Fundraising and Marketing Officer Emma Millar has been pivotal in the Mega Voyager’s presence at the event and has been speaking about it on BBC Radio Surrey (03/12/18 – at about 1hr 08 mins+)
Autistic people, or those who easily experience sensory overload, are often unable to attend such events. It is hoped that the presence of a Mega Voyager will help provide a more inclusive environment.
It is designed to be more suited to a multi-user environment than the standard Safespace Voyager and includes a special cover for dispersing light rain showers.
The Eastbourne Christmas Market takes place from Friday 30th November to Sunday 23rd December 2018, 10am – 6pm each day. St Johns School and College have their stall and Mega Voyager available every Tuesday up until Christmas.