Council makes ‘relaxed Christmas’ plans

Plans are being put in place to allow Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to host sensory-friendly Santa experiences for children with autism and special needs this year, it has been confirmed.

Cllr .Julie Flaherty. Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

Typically, the Silent/Relaxed Christmas event allows children with sensory processing challenges to have a magical experience with their families meeting Santa and Mrs Clause in a more relaxed and calming setting.

The issue was raised at Council’s monthly meeting on Monday, September 27, by Councillor Julie Flaherty who told the chamber families had already been in touch with her asking for details of the event.

“I want to ask about our Christmas programme in particular the relaxed Christmas event we have on Council,” said Cllr Flaherty.

“This is a very important event that is so highly thought of by these families who avail of it.

“However, I am slightly concerned there is no detail yet about this event. Usually, at this point in the year, planning would be well under way.

“It is not a straightforward event, it is 1-on-1 with families and takes some organising but that is the whole point of it. Usually the plans would be in place by now and the event would take place at the end of November into the first week of December.

“There is a certain amount of planning these families really do require to make that feasible so could an officer please provide me with an update on the plans for this event.”

Council’s strategic director of community and growth, Olga Murtagh said details of the borough’s Christmas events would be sent to councillors this week and promised to follow up with Cllr Flaherty in relation to the relaxed Christmas event.

“There are a number of different events across the borough through the whole month of November and certainly, Cllr Flaherty, we will follow up with you with regards to this event.

“We do appreciate families would like early notification of that and we are endeavouring to do that but we are also aware we are trying to operate an event that will need to take into consideration any restrictions that are in place at the time,” said Ms Murtagh.


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